Commissioner Gordon had the Bat Phone. When Captain Kirk was in trouble, he’d use his Communicator to say ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’ If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, you’re gonna call the Ghostbusters. And now, if you’re up a creek without a paddle, you can call Scout’s Canada.
The new ‘Camptastic’ Helpline isn’t an emergency help line, so if you’re in immediate danger or need medical aid, call for help or call 9-1-1. But if you’ve got a camping conundrum and happen to be near a payphone, Scouts Canada will answer the call.
“As nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Scouters live for camping, but we recognize that many Canadians may hesitate to benefit from the camping experience due to rusty skills or a lack of confidence,” says Mike Eybel, a volunteer Scouter of nine years with Scouts Canada. “A 24/7 helpline was the quickest, most practical and easiest way for us to support Canadians this camping season, wherever they’re at and whenever they need it.”
READ MORE: Western Canadian campsites top list of epic outdoor adventures
How to use the new ‘Camptastic’ Helpline
The number to call is 1-844-SCOUT101, but when #WCTExplorer Amy Attas called on Monday, dropping the last digit brought better results (1-844-726-8810). Then you’re greeted by real volunteer Scouters and the cute voices of young Scouts offering pre-recorded solutions for everything from bear safety to filtering drinking water.
Just use your phone’s buttons to navigate the detailed menu to the topic of your choice. If you really are up a creek without a paddle, the recording will tell you to dial 10 (dial zero instead), and give helpful advice for how to avoid that predicament in the future.
“Up a creek without a paddle, or has your watercraft flipped? Don’t panic — it’s okay if you’ve lost a paddle or flipped your watercraft, we’ve all been there!” says a young Scout. “Bring a spare paddle, ALWAYS. Use a paddle leash if you’re worried you’ll drop it. This will keep your paddle from floating away.”
READ MORE: What to bring on a hike: WCT Travel Guide
The phone line works best for campers who are caught in a pinch, already at campsites and struggling with common camping concerns. If you do have your smartphone with you, you can also access the tips at scouts.ca/CamptasticHelpline. But even if you have internet access, calling the toll-free line does have a comforting retro feel that might be more fun than reading a webpage or watching a YouTube video. Plus, the narrators on the ‘Camptastic’ Helpline do have a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour when it comes to the somewhat unrealistic scenario of dialling a hotline for help righting an overturned canoe.
“Oh no you’ve flipped your watercraft! Thankfully your phone is OK and you were able to call in. Now, don’t panic. Try these self-rescue tips…”
Empowering kids to get active, outdoors
The children’s voices on the Scouts phone line don’t just offer helpful tips, they may also inspire other youth to get outside.
”Research from Statistics Canada shows that the majority of youth in Canada, aged 12 to 17, don’t get enough physical activity in a day, while an impact study from World Scouting found that Scouts are 18 per cent more physically active than their peers, leading to greater independence and the ability to take on responsibility,” says Scouts Canada.
When youth stay active and connect with nature, they experience a world of opportunities to develop resiliency, adaptability and confidence. By embracing new experiences and overcoming fun challenges, Scouts realize their capabilities and discover skills that set them up for success—in the great outdoors and in life.”
READ MORE: Great Hikes Around the Lower Mainland
Plan your adventures throughout the West Coast at westcoasttraveller.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @thewestcoasttraveller. And for the top West Coast Travel stories of the week delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our weekly Armchair Traveller newsletter!