Celeb mad? Not scouts

There was a time when scouts were known for the saying "dib dib dib, dob dob dob" and singing around a camp fire. But PE teacher Chris Brooks is on a mission to consign that stereotype to history.

Every Friday evening Mr Brooks, 26, along with his wife Kate, heads for an adrenalin rush as leader of Cardiff's Brave Dragon Explorer Scout unit.

He is glad that members of the unit would rather opt for white-knuckle water rafting than camping in the cold, a traditional scouting pursuit.

Being a scout leader has given Mr Brooks a healthy respect for teenagers.

"It's very frustrating for young people when adults refuse to take them seriously," said Mr Brooks. "I believe adults switch off from the younger generation because they don't understand what makes them tick."

His unit takes in recruits from one of the more leafy suburbs of the city, as well as from a less-affluent neighbouring area dominated by a council estate.

Robert Baden-Powell formed the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movement in 1907.

However, it has had to move with the times to ensure its survival, and girls can now become a scout if they wish.

Research by the UK-wide Scout Association recently found that, despite celebrity and reality TV shows, most young people pick their own parents as role models.

Of the 13 to 18-year-olds questioned, most displayed an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards family life, citing their mums and dads as the people they most admire.

Mr Brooks believes becoming more inclusive has helped him strengthen his unit. "Every one of my scouts has a say in what we do. We won't just do something because it is the norm for scouts."

In the Scout Association report, 85 per cent of the young respondents said their key aspiration was to live somewhere respectable followed by having a good job (76 per cent), and a good education (74 per cent).

'We care more about the environment'

Joe Holmes, 12, a pupil at St John's College and a member of the 19th Cardiff Scout group: "It's OK when celebrities do something for charity, but most of the time they don't do that much when you think of the money they are paid.

"It is quite annoying that David Beckham can earn so much money just for playing football."

Sarah Weltch, 16, attends Bishop of Llandaff school, and is a member of the Explorer Scouts.

She said: "I think we're misjudged. We care more about the environment and global warming. Some people at school buy magazines so that they can follow celebrities, but that doesn't interest me.

"What you do on day-to-day basis, and making a contribution to society, is what counts."

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