Homepage Forums Boy Scouts (Scouts BSA) Constantly late to meetings

This topic contains 13 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  tm 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #53509 Reply


    I really need some guidance on this one. I have several scouts that week after week they come late to our meetings. My SPL has someone new each week open our meetings and usually as we finish these Scouts come waltzing in late. You should know they do not drive, they are 14 – 17 years old. I understand they aren’t driving but they aren’t taking it seriously. I have some ideas, but I would prefer some suggestions.

    Thank you….

  • #53529 Reply


    You could ask the SPL to plan a quick, fun activity to take place before the official opening of each meeting so that the boys have incentive to be there a few minutes early.

  • #53531 Reply

    Outings Chair

    Has the SPL tried giving them a job to do at the beginning of the meeting or before the meeting begins? Perhaps it’s setting up chairs and tables, or preparing the flags, or some similar task. If the task is assigned the week before and the Scout is reminded by their PL before the next meeting, they may make a better effort to arrive on time, or even early, if they know they have a job that needs to be done.

  • #53549 Reply


    The above are good suggestions. Have you talked to the parents?

    • #53562 Reply


      Yes, I have spoken with the parents, they don’t get it. At some point the Scout needs to say something to their parents about getting him and his brother to the meetings on time. They are late for everything. They drop off late, they pick up from trips late causing folks to wait around for them to show up.

      I have heard that some troops at 5 minutes befor their meetings shut and lock the doors until the opening is done. I have a HUGE issue with the Scoits who come on time and the late ones walking in and interrupting dueing the Pledge of Alleigance, Scout Oath or Scout Law. It is highly disrespectful and many are growing intolerable or it.


    • #53575 Reply


      We trained our boys who arrive during opening to wait in the hallway until it’s done. No different than church. You don’t stomp down the aisle during readings or prayers there. At the bare minimum, set the standard of behavior if you are late.

      I also recommend that SPLs sound off by patrols as part of the opening. Be prepared with a privilege for the “all present” patrol. Also for the “all present and accounted for” patrol. (Meaning the PL checked wih all of his members ahead of the meaning and learned who would be absent and why.)

      You could apply the same rule for rides from campouts. That is, all of the parents of a given patrol must wait until every boy in the patrol has secured a ride. In other words, don’t make it your problem. Make it the patrols problem to resolve.

  • #53591 Reply


    If they have a POR, you can say that part of doing the POR satisfactorily is to be at meetings on time. That said, why are they late? Do they have a late sports/band/etc. practice?

  • #53691 Reply


    People come late time to time, but it seems that what you’re describing is quite a bit more extreme than “normal”. Is there a good reason people are late? Should they be commended for being involved in sports AND Scouting? Should we show some compassion that their parent has a terrible commute home from work and other arrangements may need to be investigated to help the boys arrive on time? OR.. are they just lackadaisical, lazy, and disrespectful (yes, arriving late is “disrespect”, be it for Scouting or anything else).

    Remember, “nothing happens here by accident” (one of my most-used phrases)

    Every part of the Troop meeting has a PURPOSE in building the skills & character of the youth in the program. Late arrivals miss the opening & the prayer, so how do you know they are “reverent” when they miss prayer every week? How do their patrols gel into a unit when people are habitually late? At the end of the day, EVERY rank advancement requires a SM conference and YOU making a concerted MEASURE of how well they are “living by the Oath & Law”.

    It’s well within your authority to denounce constant tardiness as not “scout-like” and therefore, you have no obligation whatsoever to allow Mr Tardy to advance in rank. If he doesn’t like it… start coming on time, or find another troop.

    Problem solved.

    • #54053 Reply



      I wish I could say their tardiness was due to sports and other activities but it is not. The parents live in the same vicinity as the majority of the troop and take the same route as us. They just do not respect others time and I have Scouts in the Troop who are tired of them interrupting and coming late. We have been on trips, Scouts call about the approximate time of pickup while in route and we still wait 30-45 minutes for them to arrive.

      Someone gave the suggestion about closing the doors when the meeting starts and for the Scouts to wait until it’s over. I like that idea and will discuss that with the SPL to get the word out.

      Besides Tardiness the positions the one Scout held he has never fulfilled. I’ve sat down with another leader and the Scout and explained that for him to advance rank we’ll need him to keep up his end of the bargain. He hasn’t so I’m quite sure the Scouts will “vote” for another scout to fill that position when they switch in the fall.


    • #54076 Reply


      let me suggest that you treat the POR as a different issue. Work’s not getting done, so the position isn’t being held. Don’t blindside a kid about this. Expect a couple of simple tasks to be done in a week or two (include checking in with the SPL). Sounds like you may have already done this.

      If they aren’t done, open up the POR for someone of your SPL’s choosing. No election necessary.

      Invite the scout to touch base in a couple more weeks about trying a different position, or taking on a service project.

    • #54155 Reply


      Oh my. We had the “30 minutes late to pickup kids from camp” issue too, so I have a sense as what you’re dealing with.

      Talk to Mr. & Mrs. Knucklehead. Explain that it IS an issue. Explain WHY. Also try to get creative in solving it. Give Johnny a job to be done before the meeting (like getting the box of ropes for the opening “knot tying competition” or prepping other gear needed for the instruction period or flag opening.) “Positive pressure”. Then, if he lets you down, there are clear, measurable metrics on which he can/should be held accountable and see the consequences of being late.

      Tardiness to a BSA meeting isn’t the end of the world… if we were baby-sitters. But we’re not. When you chose to volunteer, wear the uniform, and sew the patch on your sleeve, you accept a solemn role in the BSA’s MISSION: to BUILD MEN OF CHARACTER and “prepare” them for life. That’s how I’d suggest you frame your conversations with Mr. & Mrs. Knucklehead and little Johnny. THEIR issues are now becoming EVERYONE’S issue, and are preventing you from performing your “job” of giving service to these young men, and that is unacceptable.

      Your responsibility is to BE TRUE to the BSA Aims & Methods. If that means that you stop advancing him until he shows corrective behavior, so be it. Actions have consequences (Life Lesson #987130985) Let any complaints roll off your back like water off a duck.

  • #54036 Reply


    Have on-time attendance to meetings be part of the troop’s honor patrol (or other competition of which patrol gets a perk like picking their campsite first). The Scouts need to see how their actions affect the patrol. The key is to make sure the SPL announces the criteria openly and at the beginning so everyone knows what’s the criteria is and what’s at stake. Also, let the parents know also. No parent wants their son to be the reason for losing a competition.

  • #54073 Reply


    Split the late scouts into groups of 2 or 3, maybe even include one of the on-time ones, and challenge them to create “unusual starts” to meetings. When it’s their turn, make sure the meeting does not start until they arrive to do their bit. Maybe arrange for some others to storm in late.

  • #54181 Reply


    Why not have meetings where you meet at the normal place and at the starting time hike out to have the meeting outside or at a different indoor place once month or quarter. When the scout shows up and the troop is gone on some cool outing he’ll start to put the pressure on his parents to get him there on time.

    Here are some things we did –

    Walk to local lake during winter to discuss ice safety and rescue.
    Walk around town and discover the police, fire and city hall or historic place.
    Hike to park to do small scale orienteering or compass work.
    Skipped flag ceremony and jumped right into bike.
    Delay meeting 10 minutes for food tasting of new recipes scouts want to try before they go camping. Cobbler and dump cake. Scouts the missing free food.

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