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RACINE — Starting in February, the Boy Scouts of America are going to allow girls into their organization and that means there are going to be some girls who could become Eagle Scouts.

Jaisyn Daher, a junior at the REAL School in Sturtevant, wants to become one of the first females to earn the prestigious Eagle Scout award, but she has some work ahead of her.

In early 2018, Boy Scouts of America made a surprise announcement stating they would allow girls to join the ranks in 2019. They also announced they planned to drop the “Boy” and eventually become Scouts BSA.

Bob Daher, Jaisyn’s dad, is an Eagle Scout and became a Girl Scout troop leader because he wanted his daughter to have experiences similar to those he had in Boy Scouts.

Jaisyn started in Girl Scouts when she was a student at Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary, but around the age of 12, the troop simply fell apart.

“Mainly the Girl Scouts just grew up and went their separate ways,” Jaisyn said. “For a good amount of time, we were on the hunt of what we could get into again … I had enjoyed Girl Scouts and it gave me a bunch of opportunities.”

At the time the troop disbanded, Jaisyn had earned her Bronze and Silver Award from the Girl Scouts and was preparing to earn the Gold Award, the highest rank in the Girl Scouts.

However, even while she was in Girl Scouts, Jaisyn wanted to be more active and yearned to be challenged.

“I remember from Girl Scouts you would get a badge for sitting down and reading a book, they’re called Journey books,” Jaisyn said.

Although she valued her time with the Girl Scouts, Jaisyn wanted to be more adventurous and do more outside.

Bob Daher is careful not to bash the Girl Scouts, because “that’s not what we’re trying to do here.”

“We started her when she was young, she got into Girl Scouts, which is great,” Bob said. “But this opportunity is going to be really big for her.”

The Venturing Crew

Bob and Jaisyn then met Rainie Ernst, who was a scout master for a local Venture Crew. In 1998, the Boy Scouts of America started Venturing, which allows boys and girls to engage in outdoor activities similar to those done in Boy Scouts.

Ernst, who has two sons who are Eagle Scouts, was happy to let Jaisyn in the group.

“It was great when (Boy Scouts) decided to open it up to the girls because the girls are doing the same thing the boys are doing in our (Venture) group anyway,” Ernst said. “They’re just not allowed to get credit on the advancement end of it as far as getting Eagle.”

The Venturing Crew in Racine meets every Monday at 7 p.m. at Bethania Lutheran Church, 4120 Wright Ave.

The Venturing program is under the umbrella of Boy Scouts of America and the boys who participate can use the program to advance in rank. The girls in the group can’t advance, at least for now.

For Ernst, the idea of having one of the first female Eagle Scouts coming out of her troop “is super exciting for me.”

“The program that Boy Scouts offers is a very robust program,” Ernst said. “It’s helping them develop for a responsible future … some of the opportunities that they’re provided through the Boy Scout program, it’s a very good opportunity for anyone whether it’s a boy or girl.”

Ernst’s son Casey, a senior at the REAL School, an Eagle Scout and a member of the Venturing Crew, is all for the change.

“Boy Scouts is a great program and why would we not let whoever wants to participate in it, participate in it?” Casey said. “I feel like as long as the girls actually earn their requirements, they should be allowed to earn their Eagle.”

Growing up, Casey said he thought the two organizations, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, were built the same, and didn’t realize there were some differences in the groups.

Although it seems like a big change — allowing girls to join Boy Scouts — Rainie Ernst said nothing else is going to be different.

“They have to meet all of the stringent requirements that the boys have to meet,” Ernst said.

Happy to prove herself

When Jaisyn heard about the major change allowing girls into the Boy Scouts she thought “there’s going to be a lot of controversy about this.”

“But I was excited,” Jaisyn said. “I enjoy both (organizations) but they are still very different from each other. There are some girls out there that don’t like Girl Scouts and still want to do the things that Boy Scouts offer.”

For Bob Dahner, opening up the program to girls was a natural step for young women like his daughter.

“She’s probably on par with a (potential) Eagle Scout right now,” Bob said. “She’s done the program, but she isn’t allowed to get the award.”

Although Jaisyn says she likely has done the work to earn a number of merit badges but will need to start over once she’s part of the Boy Scouts in February.

But that doesn’t bother her.

“It just means I’ll know what I’m doing,” Jaisyn said.

“It was great when (Boy Scouts) decided to open it up to the girls because the girls are doing the same thing the boys are doing in our (Venturing Crew) group anyway. They’re just not allowed to get credit on the advancement end of it as far as getting Eagle.” Rainie Ernst, local scoutmaster

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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