Coastside girls earn Eagle Scout, make history

Coastside Eagle Scout makes history

Coastside girls earn Eagle Scout, make history

Girls make their way in BSA


Eighteen-year-old Skye Larsen, of El Granada, made Scouting history this spring by becoming the first member of the all-female Scouts BSA Troop 4255 to earn the prestigious Eagle Scout rank.

Mary Mahon, scoutmaster for Troop 4255, said two other Coastside girls are poised to follow in Larsen’s footsteps in the coming months. Niamh Abrash, of Montara, completed her Eagle Scout project in April. The 16-year-old is currently waiting for a formal review by the Scouts BSA council that serves the San Francisco Bay Area. Natalie Cornelison, 17, is organizing an Eagle Scout project for the fall, said Mahon.

For her Eagle Scout project, Larsen organized a donation drive for Coastside Hope focused on diapers and baby wipes.

“I never could have finished my Eagle project without the help of all of the adults and Scouts in our troop, and I’m very grateful to have such amazing people who have supported me through the whole process,” said Larsen. “I am very excited to see what comes of the Troop (4255) after I age out.”

Animal lover Abrash made hammocks, enrichment toys and bridges for the rescued animals at the Wildmind sanctuary in Half Moon Bay, which also sponsors outreach programs and environmental education initiatives for youth.

Larsen and Abrash plan to host a joint Court of Honor in August. At the ceremony, the girls will formally accept the Eagle Badge, the highest achievement in Scouting.

Larsen, Abrash and Cornelison are all founding members of Troop 4255, one of the first female troops in the United States. The troop formed in February 2019 when the Boy Scouts of America officially transitioned to Scouts BSA and opened the doors to girls ages 11 to 17.

Alison Monteith, Larsen’s mother, attended the first meeting of Troop 4255, which is affiliated with the all-male Troop 255 and Troop 263. At the time, Monteith was focused on enrolling another daughter in the Scout program.

“Skye came along, and she was so impressed with all the things that they were going to do that she joined a week later,” said Monteith, adding that Larsen was especially keen on backpacking and river rafting.

Mahon said she founded Troop 4255 at the behest of Abrash, who is her daughter. For several years, Mahon had served as assistant scoutmaster for her two sons’ group, Troop 255.

“My daughter wanted to be in Scouts because she’d been coming to events with the boys since she was 3,” said Mahon. “She really wanted to do Scouts, so she nagged me until I agreed to start a troop.”

Although the all-male troops on the coast have always shown support for Troop 4255, some Scout troops from other areas have not, said Mahon. “When we’d meet Scout troops from elsewhere, there would be some areas where it’s less welcoming than it is on the coast,” said Mahon. “People would say, ‘You know, that should be just for boys.’”

Mahon added that her troop also encountered negative comments from the general public at times. “We have had some resistance from people when we’d be out doing things,” she said. “People would say, ‘Why aren’t you in Girl Scouts?’ and things like that.”

Mahon explained that the Scouts BSA program appeals to some girls more than Girl Scouts because it places a stronger emphasis on the outdoors. Another difference, said Mahon, is that Scouts BSA activities typically involve kids from different age groups.

“My daughter Niamh has experienced both programs, and she’s always liked the Boy Scout program more,” said Mahon.

Scouts working on an Eagle Project benefitting animals in the Wildmind sanctuary.

Scout Niamh Abrash, left, made hammocks and enrichment toys using old firehoses for the rescued non-releasable animals at Wildmind.

Monteith said Scouts BSA was a better fit for her family as well. “Girl Scouts is very much that parents are hands-off, and the Boy Scouts, it’s not that way,” said Monteith. “They let parents join in, and I wanted to be involved with it,” explaining that she has another daughter in the Scouting program who has special needs.

Mahon said Scouts BSA benefits girls by teaching them life skills, giving them leadership opportunities, boosting their overall confidence and inspiring a lifelong appreciation for nature.

“They participate in outdoor activities like camping, backpacking, river rafting and rock climbing,” said Mahon. “They also learn important skills like first aid and knot-tying. Most of them have never done things like this before they joined the troop.”

Monteith said she has watched Larsen and her other daughter become accomplished campers over the years.

“We used to go camping all the time, but it was always the parents that did everything,” said Monteith. “Now when we go on any camping trips, the kids do everything for themselves. They plan the food, they cook their own food, they put up their tents, take down their tents, put them away, fold up their stuff — so the Scouting program is fantastic for all that.”

Monteith added that girls also learn how to become better members of the community as part of the Scouting program.

“They teach you about helping people, and they’re very much into including kids that are different and not neurotypical,” she said. “There is a lot of empathy training, which is really, really good.”

Reposted from HMB Review and authored by April Seager.


I'm proud of all the girls in our local Scouts BSA Troop 4255 - it has been amazing to watch these young women blossom and grow over the last few years. Skye and Niamh may be our first Eagle Scouts, but they won't be the last. We are always open to new members and serve Coastside girls from age 11-17. If you want to find out more about Scouts BSA please feel free to reach out to me.

Mary Mahon

Scoutmaster Troop 4255