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Local reaction on Boy Scouts allowing girls

Boy Scouts of America Sign

KAUKAUNA (WLUK) -- The Boy Scouts of America announced a major policy changes Wednesday.

The organization says it will soon let girls take part in all of its programs, but the move has raised some eyebrows, especially with the Girl Scouts.

As a local Cub Scout Master, John Jung approves allowing girls into the 107-year-old institution.

"I think it's exciting. It's a good organization for youth and for the community and allowing girls can just improve it," he told FOX 11 News.

Jung told us a few of his boy scouts have some reservations allowing girls in the mix, but says it's not entirely new.

"There are girls in Venture programs already. So it's something that scouting is used to," he explained.

We spoke with a local Girl Scout leader who told us the Girl Scouts aren't surprised at this move, but says it might alter the relationship between the two groups.

"You're probably see a little less collaboration, in terms of programming, because we already have programming developed specifically for girls, with girls in mind," said Lee Snodgrass, Communications Director for Girl Scouts of the Northwest Great Lakes.

Snodgrass told FOX 11 she suspects the Boy Scouts may be dealing with a drop in participants.

"I know that the Boy Scouts have been experiencing a decline as a segment of their membership base has shifted away," she said.

However, in a statement, the Boy Scouts of America's National Board Chairman Randall Stephenson said the move is to expand opportunities for everyone.

The statement says, in part, "I've seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization. It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls."

Meanwhile, Snodgrass told FOX 11 the Girl Scouts, a 105-year-old organization, continues to evolve to keep up with girls' needs.

"As we get into STEM programming, as we get into some of our adventure programming that we do," she said.

Jung told us it's not just the programming, but that Boy Scouts' new policy will offer convenience for families, allowing brothers and sisters to have similar experiences.

"I know we do have different programs and I get a lot of families that are interested in doing a family thing, which this would allow more," said Jung.

The change for Cub Scouts is expected to start next year. A program for older girls is expected to start in 2019.

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