Scouting Forums

"Parents are too busy" objection to joining

All–I’m starting to see this one more and more.

I’m finding that parents once said, “We are too busy” as if their child has too many activities. But I’m now starting to see a greater occurrence of “I’m too busy” – meaning the parent is too busy to get their Cub Scout to the Cub Scout Meeting, and therefore that seems to be the barrier to joining.

Bear in mind, the parents see the value–I’ve heard this one from active parents including two Eagle Scout Dads. The scouts reiterate that they want to continue in Cub Scouts. But the parent’s schedule is preventing the youth from joining/renewing and participating.

I welcome all input and discussion on this topic.

Hi, @PaulMcDonald,

I saw this all the time back when I was a den leader, and I still see various forms of it at the troop level, and not just at recruiting time.

“Pee Wee has so many activities, that I don’t have time to get him to all of them. So, he’s not going to < insert BSA activity name here > this week.” That’s fine on occasion, as we’re all too busy for something at least once a day. However, when it becomes a habitual issue (e.g. “I can never get Pee Wee to the OA meeting. Can he ride with you?”) that I start to have trouble. Recently, the issue of over-committed parents came up in which the parents of Scout #1 (who were going out of town) had apparently coordinated to have him carpool to a campout with the parents of Scout #2. A few days before the campout, a desperate email came from the parents of Scout #2 that they couldn’t get either of the scouts to the campout, because they had some other commitment. I don’t know specifically why this case occurred, but I know multiple-bookings tend to happen for me when I’m not paying enough attention to what I’m doing/agreeing to.

Back on the recruiting side, sometimes getting movement on recruiting for parents who say they’re too busy has taken putting them in touch with someone else they already know who is participating in scouts, and encouraging them to alternate “carpooling” to scouts. Some of our families in the troop did this with no outside prompting.

As much as I’d love to get another youth into scouting, I’m thinking about the inevitable impact that having another set of parents “too busy” to support their scout in the program will have on the leaders/other parents who are involved. If the parent thinks they’re too busy to even consider their scout participating, how much support will they be able to give at home for the scout’s work in the program (or for that matter helping the other adults implement the program)? At the same time, having been a kid who grew up in a single-parent household, I know that my mom didn’t have any time to “support” our pack/troop, but we made it work anyway. She eventually ended up helping start a pack closer to home that my brother joined, so maybe “not now” doesn’t have to mean “not ever” in those types of recruiting situations.


Personally I think it’s a social issue. I see many people in our community and even my family hyper extend themselves. I have been guilty of it also.

It starts in public school. Get up early. Get to bus stop/ school. Less than an hour to cram a subject. Hurry up, shift topics. Learn again, shift topics, learn again. Cram cram cram. Get released, hurry up to xx practice. Eat fast if you can. Go home and get to work on that project. This is going on your permanent record.

This continues until getting a job. Nothing changes but the role.

I try to keep my schedule outside of work open. Our child only has scouting. Any extra activities we want to do we try to incorporate scouting by meeting some elective requirements, exploring, hiking, outside, nature, building or doing some good turns. It’s a less stress life lived on our terms and schedule.


On dad told us his son absolutely LOVED Cub Scouts, but they wouldn’t be returning because he (the dad) felt really put out by having to take his kid to the various events.

I was pretty surprised at that, I mean don’t have kids if you’re going to hate to take them places. Whatever.

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I get it. I’m a single mom and disabled and an assistant leader. I’ve been lucky and my disability hasn’t affected much with us attending, but this last week I missed a den meeting because of a trip to the ER. I have a really supportive pack that my parents helped start and I went to elementary school with one of the women on our committee so everyone knows I’m doing the best I can and values what I bring to the table. But I do wonder if I would have been brave enough to try if I were joining a completely unknown pack. It’s difficult to deal with gossip and judgement from people that don’t understand a situation. My only suggestion is try offering for the family to pull in grandparents or uncles that were previously involved in scouting and may have availability to support the Scout. I couldn’t do what I’m doing if my Mom couldn’t stay with my Lion while I’m leading my Bear, and my Dad couldn’t step in and help when I can’t be at something at all. It takes a village sometimes to support a Scout.


While I think most of the time it is an excuse to not join, I also believe that there are real cases where a parent can’t take the scout to and from meetings. When that happens, I look to see if I can get the scout a ride with someone. I have given a scout a ride home from troop meetings many times.

Keep in mind, that in this situation the rule to be looking at is “no one an one.” Two deep leadership does not apply to active transport. It applies to the activity itself.


Q. How do the Barriers to Abuse apply to transportation?

A. An adult may not drive or be alone in the car with a Scout unless that Scout is their own child. An adult may drive two or more Scouts.

Q. Can 18-year-old Scouts transport other Scouts, if so, what are the qualifications for this?

A. Yes. Drivers must be currently licensed and at least 18 years of age. Scouting youth (under age 18) are not insured under the Boy Scouts of America commercial general liability policy . Transportation guidance can be found in the Guide to Safe Scouting.


Which fits with what I said. No one on one. You can have two scouts in the car. You can have another adult and a scout in the car. The second adult does NOT have to be registered.

In most cases around here scouters are driving their own child as well. In a couple cases where I was asked about a ride and my son wasn’t going to be with me, I found another parent to drive the scout.

Yes, it does. I was simply providing confirmation.

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