|This is precious to me, as silly as that may seem|
I discovered Zombie Squad back in 2005 when they were just over a year old. As I got to know them I realized it was a group of people who wore sturdy shoes and thought you should take care of yourself, help your neighbor and be prepared for emergencies. But more importantly they weren't also racists, tin foil hatters, wacky militia types or religious extremists that often make up groups focused on emergency preparedness. This was the peer group I'd been missing and I was instantly attracted to them. These were my people.
I got involved right off. I attended events and even started coordinating things like Mock Bug-Outs, Mock Bug Out hikes and Mock Disasters. None of these are new ideas, but I brought the implementation of the ideas to ZS. As time went on I became a chapter officer and was then responsible for coordinating and organizing larger events. The first big charity fundraiser I did was a zombie-themed burlesque show. Burlesque was really coming into it's own in my town. Again, I wasn't the first person to come up with the idea that one could raise money for a charity by using scantily clad people, but I'm the one that organized the first one in my town for Zombie Squad. (I actually got the idea from our Las Vegas chapter who did one a couple months prior). After I organizing a couple, the ZS charity burlesque show became a regular thing. I had nothing to do with this last one and little to do with the two before that. It's an idea that now has a life of it's own, 3 different people ran those last 3 shows. That's fantastic. They've raised a lot of money for local charities.
A short segue, before I discovered ZS I had a love for kilts. They have many advantages over pants in my eyes. Sure, they aren't the ideal garment for all occasions, but for many occasions a kilt is more functional and comfortable than pants. (and some people even like the way they look) For the last decade I'm known as a guy who often wears a kilt, in fact I have people who are surprised to see me in pants. I was known as the guy who wore a kilt, and the idea was adopted by lots of other ZS'ers. Many of them came to the idea of their own volition, I certainly wasn't a trend setter!
The half-time act for that first charity burlesque show was a secret. Amidst a great many sexy and talented people doing amazing acts I decided it would be fun to sneak in a bad one. Zombie Squad often spends a bit of time speaking to the crowd at events, we'll discuss a topic or two about emergency preparedness. We lined up 5 guys on stage to address the crowd and instead broke into a dance routine. To Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Let You Down". Yes, we Rick Rolled the crowd with 5 dudes that couldn't dance that did a bad burlesque routine.
The crowd loved it. Part of it was the shock factor- nobody knew it was coming and it was funny. Seeing guys dance to Rick Astley while they slowly remove things like tactical vests and drop leg holsters was hilarious. Of course, since i was known for a wearing a kilt, I wore won as I performed in the act. I mean, I had to perform since it was my idea.
So- we fast forward to last night and I'm a in attendance at a ZS charity burlesque show watching the "Kilted Men of ZS" do a bad burlesque routine. 5 dudes doing a cheesy dance number that resulted in them showering the crowd with glitter. I had nothing to do with this event, but still the event had the flavor of the events I started years ago. I had an influence- the events I first ran are now being run by other people and they are great! It's become part of the culture of the organization. In fact, the charity burlesque shows are down to a science now, they run smoother than any I ever organized. But they certainly wouldn't be where they are today if I hadn't had influence years ago. It made me feel proud and humble at the same time. I made a difference.
I'm trying to pull together a new organization at the moment. Zombie Squad is great and one of the things that makes them great is politics are strictly off limits. People of diverse backgrounds can focus on the things they have in common. However, I'm at a place in my life where I have a strong desire to get more politically active and am trying to pull together a group that engages in political education and activism. With any luck I'll be looking back at that effort in 5 years and seeing the impact I've had on that organization and the good things that have been accomplished.