Local Boy Scout Troop Welcomes Girls into Organization

Girl Troop 288 Founding Scouts


In the more than 100-year history of the Boy Scouts of America, little has changed. Scouts still work to earn their merit badges and become better people. Scouts can still rise from Cub all the way to Eagle Scout. Those tenets remain and countless boys have gone through that very system. But change is inevitable. For the first time in the Crescenta Valley, girls can now join the program.

The commonly known Boy Scouts of America now bears a new name, Scouts BSA. Although the name is only slightly different, the change is symbolic of the addition of girls into this arm of the scouting program.

“Many girls have been watching their brothers go backpacking [for example] and they want to do that,” said Lou Schwing, a former Troop 288 scoutmaster. “They now get a chance to do it, too.”

The inclusiveness of the program is a sign of the times. As America becomes more diverse and inclusive, one of the most storied and prestigious programs in American history decided it was time to take strides in the same direction.

“We jokingly say ‘We came into the 21st century,’” said Mark Krauss, the Verdugo Hills Scout Council executive.

Lainy getting her Troop 288 Neckerchief

The new girl troop is a part of Troop 288, sponsored by American Legion Post 288. Although the girls are in the same troop that many boys have been a part of, they will meet and work separately from the boys for nearly all activities. The Scouts BSA program offers girls all the same activities and opportunities that they have offered Boy Scouts including the ability for girls to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

“I guess people assume that girls don’t want to do high adventure things,” said Krauss. “But I think that’s a wrong assumption.”

A large push for a girls’ section of the Boy Scouts program nationally came from fathers wanting to share their childhood experiences with their daughters, according to Krauss. The BSA had been looking into a possible girls program over six years ago, but it was not implemented until years later. The inclusion of girls was voted in by over 70% of 269 scout councils throughout the United States.


The Crescenta Valley Troop 288 girls program is one of five girl troops registered in the Verdugo Hills area, which includes many surrounding areas such as Burbank. Their first meeting was held on Feb. 12.

Going hand-in-hand with the first girls program, Brigette Schwing is serving as the first girls scoutmaster in Troop 288.

“There was a need for girls who want to do more adventurous things,” said Brigette. “The girls are very excited.”

Brigette added that she is looking forward to providing young women with opportunities that were unavailable to them before, especially as a woman leading the program.

Brigette is very familiar with the program, having been a scout parent before, as well as becoming an assistant in Troop 288 when her now-husband was scoutmaster in the early 2000s. The pair of scout leaders knew each other for some time, but only married within the last five years.

According to Lou, the girls will have a tremendous “head start” thanks to the success of Troop 288 throughout the years. Resources, such as hiking and camping equipment, that was unavailable at the start of Troop 288 will be available from the start for the girls program.

Two girls in Troop 288 are already looking toward earning their rank of Eagle Scout before they graduate from high school in two years. According to Lou, this honor is typically factored in during college applications.

Although there have been little to no issues with the implementation of the girls program, Lou expressed worry that the Girl Scouts of America might see this inclusionary change as direct competition.

“We are in no means in direct competition with the Girl Scouts,” said Krauss, a sentiment echoed by both Brigette and Lou Schwing.

Brigette, who has not ever been involved with the GSA, sees this as an opportunity for girls who are “seeking adventure.” One member of Scouts BSA Troop 288 is also a GSA scout, according to Brigette.

The local Girl Scouts troop declined to comment.

Although the girls program only has a handful of members, Brigette is hopeful that more will join as interest rises. The program seems to be a success throughout the Verdugo Hills region. According to Krauss, in 2018 76,000 girls signed up for programs across the United States.

Additionally, a girls Cub Scout program was implemented one year ago, and many girls will soon be allowed to advance to Scouts BSA.

Troop 288 meets Tuesdays at 6:50 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, located 4011 La Crsescenta Ave., La Crescenta. Troop 288 can be reached at the website http://t288.scoutlander.com/publicsite/unithome.aspx?UID=30010.