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Scouting Forums

Being late

Can Scoutbook track tardiness? Is “tardiness” a word?

@Mary_AnnDalton - the broad question would be why ??


Our troop wants to include tardiness in its calculation of participation

@Mary_AnnDalton - what would be more important the fact that they show up late or early or on time. To be honest I would have to remove my child and myself from your troop. That is just my personal take.


Ha My boys have the same problem. They enjoy scouts once they get there. But getting them there is a chore.
But I digress. In order to participate fully and not disturb the group instruction going on, scouts need to be on time. For older scouts, we want to have expectations they will encounter at a job. We cannot counsel scouts for repeat tardiness if we cant track it.

@Mary_AnnDalton - seems to me that you have a propensity to add road blocks and requirements where they dont exist.


Calculating participation should not be so analytical. Scouts is not School. If a Scout is tardy too often, that would be a fine topic for a Scoutmaster conference.

Calculations of participation are also not recommended.

Scouts IS NOT preparation for work. To conflate the two is far off course.

This seems to be very adult and not scout driven.


If you want them to be on time you should incentivize that.
ALWAYS start meetings PROMPTLY on time. If you start late, it teaches people that it is not necessary to be on time.
Start the meetings with something that makes timeliness worthwhile
Have meeting leaders give positive feedback to those who are on time (don’t single out those who are not)
If necessary, privately counsel the errant scout(s). Find out why they are late and help them develop personal management skills to avoid tardiness, as this will also impact future employments and other life events. You may also find that it is due to something beyond their control, and maybe even something that the troop can help with


If you don’t know who to counsel for “tardiness,” you don’t have an issue to counsel. If you do know who, you don’t need to prove it through data collection.


Perhaps you need to speak to the parents? Tardiness does not always indicate a scout’s intent to participate. Some scouts have little control if they get there on time. As others have mentioned, this seems too tedious to track. Reward those showing up early and on time to encourage those who arrive late to do better. If it’s in the budget, offer ice cream sandwiches to those who show up on time. You show up late, you miss out. Just a thought.


Getting to the meeting on time can also be a challenge for some Scouters. Somethings are beyond our control.

“Be prepared” - have a “plan b” if possible.

I take para-transit and sometimes public transit to meetings. Sometimes I have to plan for:
a. traffic delays due accidents or construction
b. drivers not showing up for work to drive buses
c. seats not being available for planned trips
d. being outside in bad weather waiting for transit to arrive and bus changes.
e. leaving early to get there and later to get home

Remember the Scout Law, be kind and courteous to those are late. The reason may beyond their control. Remember to thank those who get you there and back. (When was the last time you thanked your driver?)


I would suggest avoiding this as a measure for participation. Most scouts do not have a driver’s license and are dependent on someone in their house who has the ability to drive a car. Therefore, you’re really only tracking “household automobile and driver availability” instead of “scout tardiness”

Avoid making things complicated.


I live in a rural community. Most of my cub scouts are from one parent families and are transported by a parent running home from work or a non custodial parent picking them up despite living in a different community or a grandparent dropping them off. I’m happy if they show at all sometimes. Also our community is highly involved in community based sports abd drama clubs, so we are constatly competeing with them. We have to be flexible and scouts would have folded years ago.


Exactly this. Our troop is on the younger side now, since we had 4 Eagles age out last year. None of our current Scouts are old enough to drive. Who, exactly, should I counsel? It’s unfair to get on a Scout’s case for being late because Dad had a late meeting. And my job as a unit leader is not to fuss at parents, who are getting their kids to the events in the first place.

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That’s a sure-fire way to reduce tardiness and replace it with kids looking for a new Troop…

Take a look at how your Troop meetings are structured. Why are you getting into the “meat” of the meeting so quickly that being a few minutes late is a problem?

We plan for a 90-minute meeting, and that includes 5-10 minutes at the start for goofing off and settling down before the opening ceremony, then we have a Patrol break-out. Troop-level stuff (and for sure, it’s not all “instruction” – the last thing the Scouts are interested in is yet another school-room lecture) doesn’t even start until half-way through the Troop meeting.

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My son is occasionally late because I don’t get home on time. I work late and have an hour commute… There isn’t much I can do except quit my job.

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With my girl’s troop, I simply ask them or their parents to text me (and another adult for ypt) to let me know they are running late so I’m not worried about one of my families being dead on the side of the road somewhere. I also ask them to let people know ahead of time if they are going to be late and are responsible for part of the meeting so we can plan around that.


Are the scouts bothered by the tardiness or is it the adults? In a boy led troop (as all troops should be) the scouts PLC should come up with solutions to problems that they encounter.

We were late to a church youth group one evening. Instead of being greeted with concern and someone checking to see if we were okay the youth pastor chastised my elementary aged kids for being late. Had he asked he would have learned that we were the car immediately behind and therefor witnesses to a pretty bad traffic accident on our way there. We found a different youth group shortly after the incident.



To be honest it would be the patrol leader and or SPL to remind the youth. But more to the point why are they late? Lets not forget most youth are not in control of there own day. They depend on their adult’ for transportation. I know for me as an ASA it would help if the BSA could have combined troops for genders. My son and daughter have meeting on the same day, at the same time, 7 miles apart.

That being said if we “Track” and confront a youth for being late they may just not come and then drop out which is the last thing anyone would want.

Perhaps a reminder on if you are late how to enter the meeting without disrupting it could help as well.



That’s a really good idea. By the time they’re old enough to join Scouts BSA, they’re old enough (or ought to be old enough…) to understand how disruptive a late entry is, and understand that not making a huge distraction is part of being “friendly, courteous, and kind”.