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Scouts build the great escape

New puzzle-themed room coming to this year's Ptarmicon

photo courtesy of Brett Trimble
The Scouts get down to business to defeat escape room artists. Ben Niven, left, and Alex English paint the walls of the death row themed Escape Room that will make it's debut this weekend at Ptarmicon.

Yellowknife scouts are heading to death row - actually, they're building it.

This year, a group of five youth from Scouts Canada Yellowknife 1st, aged 14 to 17, are designing and building an escape room, which is basically a jailhouse themed puzzle Ptarmicon-goers will get the chance to experience this weekend.

It's like a room full of locked doors and word puzzles and keys that you have to find and things like that so that you can find all the other clues and eventually get out of the room,” said Reigh-Leigh Foster DeBaie, Ptarmicon president.

The Scouts found time to try two escape rooms while they were in Halifax earlier this month for the Canadian Scout Jamboree. They decided to bring the idea, popular in cities around the globe, north of 60.

The guys thought it would be a cool idea,” said Brett Trimble, adventure adviser with the scouts.  “They're really smart kids. The leaders and the kids did the first one in Halifax, and you just watch them go. They look at numbers, they flip them in their heads, they redesign them, they yell back and forth their ideas. They smash through, they get a small success and that builds on their enthusiasm, they have the next success and they come out all cocky.”

He's been helping to design it, and says people from Clark Builders and Igloo Building Supplies Group Ltd. have offered technical support and construction materials.

But the ideas all came from the scouts.

They designed most of it,” he said. “With scouts that age you try to give them as much room as you can. I think they've devised some fairly clever puzzles.”

The escape room, built from sheets of plywood, measures around 15 feet by 12 feet total, divided between a cell and an office room. Trimble says if it's as much of a hit as he expects, he wants to bring it back in other incarnations in future. He's already got his eye on a Halloween escape.

The escape room will run throughout the weekend at Ptarmicon. It’s set up so groups of four will be able to work their way through the puzzles in about 45 minutes. The game costs $20 per person, said Foster DeBaie, which will help the scouts recoup their construction costs.

photo courtesy of Brett Trimble
The masterminds behind the escape room, making it's debut this weekend at Ptarmicon. From left to right, Alex Trimble, Ben Niven, Alex English and Tye Sparvier. Not pictured, Bradley Hazenberg.