By DAWNE LEIKER
ELLIS -- For Letisha Haag, scouting traditions run deep.
"I came from a long line of Girl Scouts," she said during an interview at her home in November. "My grandma was a Girl Scout. My aunts were all Girl Scouts. ... Kind of a family tradition."
This year is Haag's second as a Girl Scout leader for Troop 10020 in Ellis. Her daughter, Kaydawn, 7, is in her second year as a Daisy Girl Scout.
In addition to her Girl Scout duties, Haag serves as Ellis Cub Scout master for the troop of her son Zeke, 9. Haag and her husband Ron have one other son, 3-year old Asher.
Twenty-nine girls make up the Ellis "super troop," which has Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadets, Ambassadors and Seniors. Haag enlists the help of several parents to facilitate activities during bi-monthly meetings.
"I do have good parents who are willing to help," Haag said. "They just don't want to take on the whole troop."
Although Kaydawn is too young for camping, she participated in a "Journey in a Day" event, and enjoyed sampling blueberry pancakes, pine nuts, cheese and dirt candy. She said she likes playing games at meetings.
"I'd say my favorite game would be that lion one," she said with a giggle. "You would stick these pieces of tape on and one would have a lion on it.
"You wanted to be at your base if it roared and it was the lion."
Difficulty with finding leaders throughout the area has put some programs in jeopardy, but through cooperation among troops, the activities and camp outs have continued.
"The nice thing about northwest Kansas is a lot of people will help adopt some of those girls into their troops for those kinds of activities," Haag said. "But ideally, if there isn't somebody there to lead it, then those programs go away."
Broken up into "Journeys," the Girl Scout experience provides girls with leadership skills.
"Unless we take the time now to build those leadership characteristics, these girls don't have any way to develop those," Haag said. "That's really what Girl Scouts is about, developing tomorrow's leaders.
Giving girls attainable role models also is a benefit of the scouting program, she said.
"The girls need those role models who do make mistakes, but can show the girls that they can still rebound from that," she said. "You just keep going.
"You don't have to be perfect to do what you're doing. Most of the girls in Girl Scouts really just need an adult who can smile at them, who can take interest in them ... even if it's for an hour a week."