Local scout leader weighs in on decision from Boy Scouts

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - For the first time since its founding over a century ago, the Boy Scouts of America is welcoming in girls.

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"The funny thing is, I've done this for 27 years. When we go in and talk to the kids at school and tell the girls they'll have to wait, we're here to talk to the boys, the girls get upset and they get mad," Choctaw Area Council scout executive Ken Kercheval says. "So it will be a neat thing to say, 'hey, you can join, too.'"

Girls will be welcomed into the Cub Scouts, starting next year as the first phase of the program. And there will be a path for those girls to earn the highest possible rank of Eagle Scout. It's a decision that has been made with considerable controversy. A big question many are asking is, 'What about the Girl Scouts?'"

"We are very much different in how we do our programs and what we do," Kercheval explains. "It's more than just us selling popcorn and they sell cookies. Our programs are really different. So I would foresee that they keep doing what they're doing."

The board of directors says the decision came after numerous requests from girls and their families. Kercheval says the local council hasn't seen any requests from girls yet but is ready for it. One thing parents need to know is that not everything will be co-ed.

"What is not being said in the latest press release is that boys and girls will still be separated," Kercheval says. "And I truly believe that's important for boys to be with boys and girls to be with girls in some of the aspects."

Some activities would be done together, but dens would be separated. Potentially doubling the amount of dens means doubling the amount of volunteers needed.