Hazel Brown believes that every child has massive potential if only they can be pointed in the right direction at the right time by the right person.
The Muff based scout leader recently was awarded the ‘Order of Cuchulainn’ for her services to scouting in Ireland - the highest honour that can be awarded in this country - and she says she feels not only ‘deeply honoured but extremely proud’ of the recognition.
Speaking with the ‘Journal’this week Hazel said her support for scouting was based in the principle of ‘giving something back’.
“It’s one of my core Christian beliefs - that we have to give something back for the gifts that have been given us. It’s a personal thing.
“When I was young I was a scout. It was, for me, a place I felt safe, I made friends there. Even today the memories of those times are imprinted on my brain. In a way I regarded what we did then was like climbing a mountain - it was tough but when you got to the top the view made it all worthwhile.
“I look on the effort I put today pretty much in that light.”
One person who is full employment as a teacher told me candidly she did not know where Hazel got the time or the energy to put so much into her role.
Why does she put in so many hours?
“I love to see young people achieving their potential. There is so much negativity out there right now that people, particularly young people, need to get involved in something that’s positive. I like to see young people getting on the right path. In scouting they have to learn to share, to trust their partners, to help each other out. There are good values for anyone there.”
Originally from Burt, Hazel now lives in Lenamore, Muff. Married to Derek they have four children - and guess what? one is a scout leader in Dublin. Hazel concluded: “The image of scouting - this ‘dib, dib’ thing’ - is all wrong. The kids are out camping, canoeing, hill walking, making camp. It’s open to all, and it’s a great way for to make friends and develop confidence. I would recommend it to all.”