Tea Party 2.0 (Part II): What is a Block Captain Team and How Does it Work?
This is part II in a three part series by guest blogger John Burns.
Part I was posted yesterday here.
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Tea Party 2.0 (Part II): What is a Block Captain Team and How Does it Work?
The overall goal of the Block Captain Revolution is to recruit, train, and deploy patriotic Block Captains and Block Captain Teams to take over every governmental institution, every institution of higher learning, every court of law, and to restore US Constitutional government to America. We will not stop at anything short of total victory. The left plays for keeps, and so must we.
In order to achieve this goal, rather than mobilizing like an army with a set hierarchy, we’re going to organize more like a peaceful, yet implacable insurgency: completely decentralized. Think of your Block Captain Team as your own McDonald’s franchise – except instead of serving up Big Macs, you’re serving up freedom.
A Block Captain Team (BCT) is a group of patriots who band together to bring freedom back to America. An individual BCT, while in association with other BCTs, is its own entity. Also, if you are going to work with a party, we STRONGLY recommend that you keep your BCT membership as a separate entity. Too often politicians co-opt grassroots resources and run them into the ground. A word of the wise: work constructively with as many groups as possible, but maintain your independence. The Block Captain Revolution is about empowering as many patriots as possible, not assisting various politicians in gaining lifetime positions. Freedom is better preserved if a given politician must court a thousand small groups as opposed to 2 or 3 large ones. It’s a way of keeping them honest.
An individual BCT sets its own goals and is alone responsible for achieving those goals. Other BC Teams may assist with mentoring other BCTs. And the most successful of BCTs and Block Captains should become trainers and hold regular training sessions so new Block Captains, after they are recruited, are given a solid tool-kit of best practices and tactics.
In St. Louis we’ve developed a training manual to help Block Captains get their teams off the ground. A Team is successfully operating when it has built up to 10 members, is recruiting members for additional teams, has determined short term, intermediate term and long term goals, is actively meeting with others in the community and handing out constitutions. Once the team has mastered these tasks, it’s important that the team grow and regularly assist with candidate or issue campaigns of its own preference, voter registration, poll watching, election judging, and petition drives.
We’ve begun holding training workshops around the region in order to train Block Captains and help them along. Successful Block Captains are now becoming trainers themselves so they can help other teams get off the ground and mentor teams – not manage them. We believe it is extremely important that the teams sink or swim. Everyone must pull their own weight. Frankly, we don’t have the time or resources to micromanage. In the Block Captain Revolution, there are limitless leadership opportunities: Block Captains Wanted.
It’s important to note that there are many elements to the program that I just won’t have space for on these pages. For the purposes of this article, however, I’ll give you the Readers Digest version of how to build a team and offer you some suggestions for goals.
Block Captain Team Structure
A team starts as 1, grows to a core 4, and a full team is 10 members strong. Once a Block Captain Team (BCT) reaches 10 members – call it Team A – the Team continues to recruit 5 more members (the nucleus of Team B) who will upon reaching 5 members become their own standalone team. Team B is now born and responsible for building their team to 10 members…and then also consistently and perpetually recruiting new starter teams of 5. In this way, it’s possible to increase your regional team count and membership in a big way. By limiting the teams to 10 people, we remove the organizational management difficulties inherent in any enterprise. 10 people can coordinate with one-another much more easily than 20. Plus, it’s an opportunity to spread the work and the leadership opportunities around. Volunteers have extremely high attrition rates because of two key reasons: 1) the volunteer feels under- utilized and neglected and 2) the volunteer is board and not having fun. To be a Block Captain, however, is to be a social entrepreneur. In a way, you’re “in-business” with each of your Block Captain Team members. The team is “your baby.” But, it’s important to note that there’s no room for egos or micromanagement. We’re all in this together, and every Block Captain is an important team member with a unique set of talents and interests. Effective teams find ways to leverage their comparative advantage in this area.
A word on having fun: Ideally, individual teams will consist of people who are close friends and/or neighbors. The strength of the team is in its team member’s relationships.
Remember, this is a long term endeavor. Block Captains are not in it for the short term. We’re in it to win it. So, it’s important that every activity should have a social, fun element to it. If you’re going to spend 2 hours handing out constitutions in your neighborhood or going to other neighborhoods, make sure you spend 1 hour at a restaurant, ice cream parlor, or sno-cone stand and enjoy one-another’s company and have a good time. If your team isn’t having fun, you’re absolutely, positively doing something horribly wrong. Not all political activities are intrinsically fun, so you’ll need to be creative about how you do it.
A note on recruitment. A Block Captain/BCT’s single most important goal should be expansion. There’s an important maxim that holds, “you can’t beat somebody with nobody.” Too often, political groups and teams get comfortable with a particular group of people and neglect recruitment and expansion. This is completely counterproductive and wrong. If you don’t have an army, you can’t fight a war. Your team should be focused first and foremost on expanding the number of Block Captains and Block Captain Teams, recruiting ever more patriots into your ranks and also RETAINING those recruits. To put all that effort into recruiting a teammate and then losing them is tragic and ridiculous.
Recruiting and retention is job one. All other goals are of secondary importance.
Training, Communication, Coordinating with Other Teams and Mentoring
As more and more BCTs form in your region, you’ll want to start coordinating with those teams. You don’t want to be replicating work that’s already been done. In St. Louis, we’ve created an online social network of Block Captains which is organized by regional geography or borough. BCTs in the given geographic area or borough can thereby communicate easily and quickly, sharing ideas and strategies, but also communicating in solidarity.
As you’re recruiting more and more Block Captains and as more and more BCTs form, you’ll want to start organizing regular BC training workshops. As I said, we’ve developed a manual that we can teach from. Successful Block Captains can and should become trainers. The more trainers you have, the more workshops you can organize. Trainers should be willing to help mentor teams for a while, too. The value of mentoring teams to success cannot be overstated. New Block Captains often have comfort zones that they have trouble breaking out of. If someone is learning a new skill, they can only truly learn it by doing it. Trainers should be willing to physically show people how to do the technique in the field.
BCTs don’t have meetings. Meetings are dull, utilize Robert’s Rules of Order, and an exceptional way to drive people away from your team. Instead, BCTs have a get-together every week or every two weeks. Teams need to setup times to hold these social events. They’re opportunities to have fun and also discuss tactics.
Regular Team Activities
Teams also need to regularly plan group activities. These activities can be combined with “get-togethers,” but the activities need to have goals (such as registering x amount of people, handing out x number of constitutions door-to-door, canvassing a particular number of houses in a given area, etc.). Again, be sure to have fun.
Region-wide, Monthly Activities
Once there are multiple BCTs in your region, you should organize regular, monthly fun activities. In St. Louis we’ve started regular social get-togethers at a really fun bar/grill/music venue. Again, we work hard, but we play hard, too. It’s important to have a monthly region-wide event so people can meet other teams and share experiences, have fun, and learn.
Goal setting is important for any BCT. Goals are important because they tell you where you’re headed as a team. As Seneca said, “If a man doesn’t know to what port he is sailing, no wind is favorable.” Goals should be understood and mutually agreed upon by the team members. Everyone should have a firm understanding of the goals and the goals should be effectively communicated to everyone.
One good way to think about goals is through the acronym, SMART.
Smart goals are:
There’s a lot more that I wanted to say, but I’m afraid I’ve run out of space.