Thanks for the email- good question.
When a student leader misses one of my meetings I always like to bring them in front of the entire congregation and have them flogged publicly. I find that I have very good attendance the next week!
Okay . . . seriously now. You might have caught my recent article about student leadership. If you didn't, here's the link: http://www.thesourcefym.com/archives/arc20021203.asp
In that article, and in the chapter in my book: http://www.thesourcefym.com/book.asp
I talk about some attendance requirements for student leaders and give samples of the expectations I lay out.
Sometimes lack of attendance can reflect on the original expectations laid out. I try to lay out expectations that aren't too stringent and have some slack if things come up. For example- I don't want to punish a kid for going on their family vacation or their grandma's funeral. Or what if you have a varsity athlete who wants to be a student leader but has availability problems because of the sport. I like to try to work things out. But I always make communication of this a priority. We talk about these things ahead of time. You can even add an item to your application that says "Do you foresee anything in your schedule making attendance a problem?"
If you have someone who isn't adhering to the guidelines- I get some one-on-one time with them. Meet with them with the intent of #1, finding out what's going on in their life- and secondarily- why that's affecting attendance. Think of the lack of attendance of a symptom of a deeper issue. Don't try to fix the symptom- find the deeper issue. Make sure that your discovery process reveals your care for the individual more than just reprimanding them for not being there.
Hope that helps.
The Source for Youth Ministry