In the previous article, we talked about the ground work you should do before even starting your own Bigfoot research group. Now let's talk about staffing your group.
At the MABRC, we created our own online presence, through a website and a message board. This allowed us to post our evidence, techniques, policies, procedures, and to allow members to communicate with each other.
We also created an online application and sighting report forms, for the public to join the organization or turn in sighting reports. Now you may not want to go this route, you may be thinking you only want a small group, nothing like the huge mega groups like the BFRO, GCBRO, MABRC, etc., but you should really think in the long run, that the group may grown, and you need a way to communicate to your members.
Let's go through the process of how a new member is brought into the organization. They first have to fill out the online application (we have paper copies that we use at conferences and other events) and they will hit the submit button. Here is a list of items on the application that we ask.
*Why do you want to join?
*What experience, skills or qualities do you feel you will bring to the MABRC?
*What equipment do you have that is beneficial to field research?
*Describe briefly what sparked your interest in Sasquatch?
*Are you affiliated with any other Sasquatch Research groups, organizations, etc.?
If so, which one(s). Please note, you can be a member of other organizations
Besides just the MABRC.
*How much time do you have to devote to MABRC, active field research or witness
*Do you believe Sasquatch have any special abilities beyond the abilities of known
animals? If so, please explain.
*Have you developed any theory or hypothesis on the origin of Sasquatch, Sasquatch
Behavior or research tactics? If so, please explain.
*Do you believe Sasquatch is a flesh and blood creature? If not, please explain.
*Do you have much experience with work in a wilderness setting?
*Would you have interest in being an active field researcher? Or in a support role?
*Have you joined the MABRC forum yet?
*When is a good time to call for an interview?
All the items marked with an "*" is considered necessary items, failure to answer those items usually means the application is put in file 13. Missing just one, is alright, but you would be amazed at how many people will fill out this application and not put any information on how to contact them.
However you use a membership application, via the web or in paper form, you need to keep copies of everyone that gets turned in to you. Because somewhere down the road, someone will contact you about a membership application that they thought they turned in, and make a fuss. This way you can go back and check into it.
I admit, I have misplaced several applications over the years, so now they are all copied onto the forum/message boards under the MABRC Organizational Members only area, like a file cabinet.
Next thing on the agenda is an interview. Sometimes this isn't necessary because the person is being sponsored into the group by an organizational member, and is brought in on their recommendations.
The MABRC has a rule, that we will attempt to contact an applicant 3 times on the times they give us to call, if they don't answer, then we file 13 that application. (We don't throw it away, we simply move it to a folder where we put other "dead" applications at.)
Once we do contact the applicant, the interviewer will talk to them for a little while, covering a lot of questions about the person's bigfoot beliefs, what abilities they think Bigfoot has, what theories or hypothesis they have about Bigfoot, and really go into depth about some of the answers they gave on their application.
There will even be questions about the background of the person, in terms of experience, skill sets, and even if they have had an encounter with a Bigfoot.
The interviewer is always a senior member of the group, who knows what type of person will fit in with the group. If the person is a braggart, a know it all, or generally just a cranky person in general, it will come out in the phone interview.
You don't want over-bearing individuals coming into your group and raising a ruckus, so that is the purpose of the interview, to weed those type of people out.
Now if the interviewer decides that the person will be a good fit in the group, we bring them in on a 90 day trial probation, we've just never told anyone that they were on probation, because we don't want them to be on their best behavior because of it, we want them to hit the ground running with us, that is the only way to see how a person will end up being.
We also have them join the forum/message board, and they begin to have access to the MABRC Organizational Members area where all investigations, expeditions, evidence, tactics, procedures and more are discussed before being posted to the public side of the forum/message board for everyone to see.
They are encouraged to interact with the older members of the group, in order for them to get acquainted with the newbies. This also aids in weeding out those folks who managed to get through the interview process and not being a good fit in the group.
The old timers if they are close enough to a new member, will invite them along on investigations, expeditions, and just general research, and get to know the member in the field. If the new member is too far from other members to participate, it's not a requirement that they have to travel far to do things with other members.
We have had new folks travel 400 miles or better to attend an expedition to meet others in the group, and those folks have become quite an asset for the group.
Now you are probably thinking, okay so these are folks who are researching in the field, what about those who can't.
Well, the MABRC was the first organization that included arm-chair researchers into the group. Except we gave them a special title, Analyst.
Our analysts in the MABRC do a lot of work in the background to help keep the researchers in the field gathering evidence. They review audio, video, photos, and comb through reports and articles looking for information that can be used by the researchers. Some analysts also do equipment reviews, design equipment in the field and more.
Just because someone can't get into the field, doesn't mean they can't be useful. Everyone can put effort into your cause. Just because someone may be in a wheelchair, doesn't mean they are not a valuable asset to your group.
Once a person is also brought into the group, we give them a copy of our Jr. Researcher Handbook, that explains how the MABRC works as a group, our different levels of leadership, and a lot of tactics and procedures to use in their own research.
We also have levels that researchers/analysts go through as they learn more, and become better at researching/analyzing.
All start out at the Junior Researcher/Analyst position. As they begin to grow in knowledge and skill, they get promoted to Researcher/Analyst.
From there, they are watched by Senior Researchers/Analysts for their progress. Once they achieve a higher level of training, skills and more, then they are promoted to Senior Researchers/Analysts.
Now a lot of folks will no doubt post snide comments on Facebook about how the MABRC does things, but I post this here for anyone really serious about starting their own groups, as a place to refer to for any ideas of their own when it comes to creating a good solid group.
Currently the MABRC has well over 500 members across the globe and although we have taken hits in the past from people, we still continue to grow. When I started the group, I figured we may have about 100 people at the most in the group. Always expect growth in your group if you do the right things.
The next article will deal with finding research areas and conducting expeditions for your group.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
So you have decided you want to start your own bigfoot research group. Folks have asked me quite a few times, D.W. how do you start a bigfoot research group. First off, I have to say like Mr T.
I thought long and hard how to write this article, and decided to write it in several parts.
The very first thing I would suggest anyone doing before they seriously consider starting their own bigfoot research group is to read Steve Hyde's excellent article "Six things a new Bigfoot researcher should think about" by going to the following link.
Because this also fits into what to expect when you try to start your own bigfoot research group.
So let's go down the list here, along with my recommendations.
1. BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, HAVE A CLEAR IDEA OF EXACTLY
WHAT IT IS YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH.
What do you want to accomplish with this group? There are so many groups out there already, what makes you think your group will be needed? When I was investigating ghosts back in the 90s, there wasn't many groups around to investigate the paranormal, then "Ghost Hunters" came on the air, and suddenly everyone started their own groups. Before you knew it, there were too many around, and serious infighting began as people strived to stake out their territory and find places to investigate.
The same holds true now with "Finding Bigfoot" on the air, everyone wants to start their own group, basically you are seeing that the Bigfoot community is being saturated with different groups, each with their own different views, beliefs, theories, etc. Each group tries to maintain their presence in the community, with many soon falling by the wayside because they can't make an impact on the community.
The best advice I can give you, is to decide what will make your group stand out in the community. Give yourself and your group a clear mission statement that outlines what you want to accomplish. Stay away from blanket comments like "WE ARE NO KILL" or "WE ARE PRO-KILL", that should be left up to individual members on where they stand. You can say that no hunting of Bigfoot while conducting organizational events, i.e. witness investigations, expeditions and so on.
The MABRC mission statement is placed here for reference of what I am talking about.
“To be the best in research, by freely providing information to MABRC members and the public, through the various means at our disposal, to lead the way in protocols and procedures, to maintain the highest level of ethics in the Bigfoot Community.
The MABRC will also not become embroiled in the politics that hinder the Bigfoot Community, and become the showpiece of what a Bigfoot Research Organization should be. We will always maintain professionalism under all and any circumstances, show kindness and consideration to others regardless of their stature or what their circumstances may be.
While continuing to think outside the box, the MABRC will continue to lead the way so that others may follow.”
You should also decide upon a clear concise name to go by, as many groups out there already exist, you need to do a Google search on every name you come up with, to see if it's already being used.
Creating a logo is also necessary to give your group it's identity. There are lots of free logo makers on the Internet to create you a logo if you don't have someone with good digital artist skills.
And creating the guidelines for how your organization will work is important too. The MABRC created the "7 Golden Rules" that is the fundamental rules of the group, I post those here for reference for anyone wanting to possibly create their own.
The MABRC is guided by 7 fundamental rules that are referred to as the “Seven Golden Rules”. These rules have remained unchanged since the inception of the MABRC and will not be modified unless by unanimous vote of the MABRC.
1. We share information with each other freely although some witness ID and location may be withheld due to witness request.
2. We don’t intrude on each others research areas or witnesses without contacting each other ahead of time.
3. No-Kill/Pro-Kill is left up to the individual researcher; we don’t endorse either way as a group.
4. Each researcher’s evidence and research belongs to him (or her) although we do encourage sharing of information among researchers in the group.
5. Each researcher may voice their opinion or belief without fear of condemnation or abuse from other members.
6. You contribute what you can; no one is expected to do it all.
7. Be the best researchers we can be, by thinking outside the box.
Every member has a right to say what they think about anything that may come up or need to be talked about.
Breaking of these rules can lead to expulsion from the MABRC, and should not be taken lightly.
It is expected that all MABRC Researchers and Analysts will present themselves in a professional and courteous manner no matter where they are. As a MABRC Member, you represent an organization striving to become the foremost research group in the world today.
By creating this fundamental foundation to work from, you will find attracting like-minded individuals will be easier.
Now for the next item.
2. BE WARY OF PEOPLE. YOU WILL LEARN MORE ABOUT HUMAN
NATURE THAN YOU EVER WILL ABOUT BIGFOOT.
This couldn't be farther from the truth. You will learn more than you ever thought you would about human nature. People will come and go throughout your organization's existence that will cause you more grief than you can imagine.
You will have people attempt their own agendas against the organization, for their own gratitude.
In the early days of the MABRC, we had an individual who considered himself a "Facilitator" between the group and other groups, scientists, academics, etc.. Yet the bottom line was, it had to be his agenda regardless or he would try to destroy the organization. When he was removed from the group, he attempted to destroy the MABRC by contacting everyone that he had ever contacted and made up lies about the group in order to destroy it.
His agenda went against the "7 Golden Rules" of the MABRC, and it took years to repair the damage he inflicted between the MABRC and other researchers. I once got to sit down and talk to Craig Woolheater at a MABRC Expedition that he came to as a visitor. He gave me the best advice he could for the leader of a Bigfoot research group. Your group will always have enemies trying to destroy you, but your biggest threat will come from those ex-members you have to purge from your group.
He was correct in that assessment. As members come and go, you will find that those who you either remove or quit due to fundamental beliefs, etc., will sometimes become your worst enemies.
Another important piece of advice I give to anyone wanting to start their own group, you better have a very, very, thick skin. Because as the head of your organization, you have the bullseye on your back. You will catch the heat, you will catch the criticism, and you will always, always, be given the blame for anything that goes wrong. You can do 100 things right, and only one thing wrong, and people will always remember the wrong thing, never the good things.
3. BE OBJECTIVE. THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A THEORY AND
This one is a no-brainer, always be skeptical of all the evidence, witness reports, and even when your best friend in the group tells you what they saw, maintain a level of skepticism. That is how you build credibility, when you don't accept everything as Bigfoot, and you try to debunk everything. When you can no longer can debunk evidence, then you can say "possibly" or "probable" that a Bigfoot might have done it. When putting evidence out there, always maintain the attitude that its a "possible" or "probable" Bigfoot. That will always put you in a good light with other researchers, because if you don't do your best to debunk your own evidence, when you release it to the public at large, others will debunk your stuff. And a lot of them won't be gentle with what they say. Once again, you better have a very thick skin for it all.
4. ALWAYS QUESTION YOUR ASSUMPTIONS.
Did I mention, that you should always be skeptical?? Even if you have seen a Bigfoot on multiple occasions like I have, you maintain your skepticism on the amount of evidence being presented these days. Create policies and procedures on how to do your research, how to do analysis on your own. The Bigfoot Field Guide series of books that you can order from here is a great start on how to do your own analysis of your evidence.
5. BE SKEPTICAL, OBJECTIVE AND REALISTIC ABOUT EVIDENCE AND
KNOW ITS LIMITATIONS.
By adhering to scientific protocol, following what the evidence shows, not what you assume it to be, is key to presenting valid evidence that many in the Bigfoot Community will accept. I've been doing this since the early 90's, and let me tell you, I have been through the ringer on evidence when I presented it, I earned my stripes from being assailed by many of the other researchers over my evidence, I quickly learned to go through it with a fine tooth comb before I let it go out to the public. And I had a tough skin. I understood that many of those researchers weren't being mean or hateful to me, they wanted the same thing I wanted, good evidence to come out, and they were trying to show me the way to do it properly.
6. THE BIGFOOT MYSTERY IS SOLVABLE, AND YOU CAN BE THE ONE
WHO SOLVES IT.
It's been tossed back and forth between many of the old timers in the Bigfoot Community that the Bigfoot mystery will more than likely be solved by either a logging truck smacking into a Bigfoot crossing the road, or by some young kid out hunting who blasts a Bigfoot in the woods. While this may appall many folks who are die-hard No-Kill, the truth of the matter is, only a body will totally solve the mystery. Now that doesn't mean that if you get the ultimate video or photograph of one, that you may solve the mystery, but you have to remember, the multitude of photo and video software out there that can be used to manipulate evidence makes that type of evidence moot.
Now that we have those out of the way, we will do part 2 tomorrow. We will talk about how to structure your group.