SWAT Group - Severe Weather Assistance Team

Get "caught in the act" of help your community

So, you want to support the image of the sport of offroading in your own community? Not sure how to get started? Not sure what the goals should be? Well read on.

I'm going to detail one idea, which, hopefully, will get other ideas flowing for you. This idea is not new, but it was new to our area. It came out one night at a club meeting, like this...

I was running for club president and part of my platform was that we should be more helpful in the community. Some agreed, some didn't, but we really hadn't hashed out any "what should we dos" at this point, so most were just waiting to hear ideas.

I reasoned that with us supporting the community, and a partner or two in the community, we'd stand a better chance of being heard if/when land-use issues really become a problem.

Positive publicity is usually a good thing, so I knew we wanted local radio & TV coverage if/when possible for our efforts.

Now, what to do?

Plenty of local groups run fundraisers for local charities and donate money each year in the name of their group. Great, they get a letter of thanks and the charity gets support. Absolutely nothing wrong with this scenerio.

But, I wanted more exposure than a letter of thanks could offer for our club. I wanted local TV phoning to ask why were were doing what we do.

In short, I wanted us to be "caught in the act of doing good" for our community. In a time and place where folks couldn't help but notice us.

Now, I mentioned this idea was not new, just new to our area. I first read about a group in Colorado doing this back when I was about 14. It's been with me ever since as a great way to support your community when your community needs it most.

  • Is it glamorous? Hell no.
  • Is it fun? For some it is, for me it's more of a business.
  • Is it rewarding? Hell YES.
  • Have we been featured on TV, in the papers, in magazines and on the radio? Um, yes, multiple times and some of the news reports aired Nationally.
  • Has our group of volunteers been formally recognized by our local Legislative Assembly? Yes again.
  • Have we recieved dozens of calls from local groups asking for our help? Yes

We're now calling this whole thing a success and gearing up for a second year of work.

I know, I still haven't told you what it is we're doing. Well, here you go:

It's called SWAT - the Severe Weather Assistance Team. We are a registered non-profit with the following mission statement:

The Severe Weather Assistance Team (SWAT Group) will assist local, municipal or provincial agencies or groups in need of transportation assistance for their essential personnel or supplies during times of inclement weather, during states of emergency or in remote locations where our equipment & training allow safe passage.

The SWAT Group is a non-profit organization formed to meet a need and help our community.

Our first step was to sit with members of the local Jeep club (Nova Scotia Jeep Club, of which I'm a member). When we figured out we had about 40 volunteers, we approached the local health authority (they run the local hospitals) and offered to help them with transport needs during the worst weather. They were extremely happy to have our support.

To shorten the whole story up some, we moved over 600 doctors and nurses for them during 4 major storms. We can, and have, run for over 24 hours straight. We only move staff, no one else.

It takes a tremendous amount of work and a great group of volunteers to pull this off. The number one consideration is safety for the folks being transported. if your community partner trusts you, things will move along nicely.

This is a pretty simple concept, which anyone can get started. It's also a greast way to help your community directly in times of need AND gain very public notice for your efforts.

Don't tell anyone, though, but it's kinda fun to be out driving around during the storms, too...LOL