WILKES-BARRE -- Many civil rights advocates in the Wyoming Valley are praising the Boy Scouts of America's decision to allow transgender boys to join as a giant leap forward.
The new policy takes effect immediately. It comes following new transgender-friendly membership policies in the Girl Scouts from just a few years ago.
"Times are changing," said Mark Barbernitz of the Boy Scouts of America NEPA Council.
"It seems like it's the right thing to do, to make a decision to get ahead of this issue," he added.
"We are so happy that the Boy Scouts of America have taken this step. This is a really proud day for them and for the country," said Kelly Novakowski of the NEPA Rainbow Alliance.
Novakowski said the new policy opens the door for transgender youth to feel more comfortable to become a scout.
"I think that people will feel confident to send in that application, know that they won't be questioned," she said.
Enrollment in the Boy Scouts of America has been on the decline in recent years, both nationally and here in our area. Officials hope the new policy also attracts new members.
"We need to stay relevant with the times. We're working on getting our membership back. We currently serve three million nationwide," Barbernitz said.
The NEPA Rainbow Alliance says it will help the B.S.A. if it needs it.