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Scout Badge Weekends

Please note that the dates provided below are tentative. As of November 2020, the Green Bank Observatory is not open to overnight visitors, but we are hoping that the COVID situation in 2021 will improve to the point where we can welcome scouts again. The Observatory’s first priority is the safety of staff, students, and leaders.

If the Observatory’s safety team deems it inappropriate for your scouts to stay overnight with us, we will contact the person who created the reservation at least two weeks before the scheduled visit to cancel, and you will receive a full refund on your deposit.

The Green Bank Observatory offers overnight badge weekends for Girl Scouts and Scouts BSA.

All educational activities are free for these weekends, but there are some costs if you’d like to stay overnight or purchase meals while here. In addition, there is a $5 per scout materials fee for the Scouts BSA Electronics badge.

If you have any questions not answered here, feel free to email our STEM Education Assistant, Luci Finucan, at lfinucan@nrao.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Girl Scouts: Juniors, Cadettes, and Seniors can earn their respective Space Science badges during the overnight. Younger scouts are welcome to do a day trip the Friday before or the Sunday of the Girl Scout Badge Weekend to earn their Space Science badge.

Scouts BSA: All Scouts BSA, Venture Scouts, and Sea Scouts can earn either the Astronomy or Electronics badges (depending on the weekend). Cub Scouts and Webelos are welcome, but must be accompanied by a scout master at all times.

Girl Scouts:

The Green Bank Observatory Girl Scout Weekend includes the Daisy Space Science Explorer, Brownies Space Science Adventurer, Juniors Space Science Investigator, Cadettes Space Science Researcher, Seniors Space Science Expert, and Ambassadors Space Science Master badges.

Scouts BSA:

The Green Bank Observatory Scouts BSA Weekend includes either the Astronomy or the Electronics Merit Badge.
Please note that there are separate weekends for the Astronomy and Electronics merit badge. Troops can choose which to complete by signing up for the date that badge is offered.

Activities usually start between 9:00 am and 9:30 am on Saturday, continue all day, and finish between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon on Sunday. If your troop is based a good distance from the Observatory, we recommend arriving Friday night.

Scouts BSA: Astronomy

  • April 9-11 (full)
  • December 3-5

Scouts BSA: Electronics

  • September 10-12

Girl Scouts

  • March 12-14
  • May 7-9
  • November 3-5

Scout troops have two options for staying onsite: the bunkhouse and the campground. If you’re interested in staying onsite, make sure to select “Overnight Accommodations” in your GBORS request.

The bunkhouse costs $10 per person per night, with a $200 per night minimum (if you’re bringing twenty-one people, that is $210 per night, and so on). A $100 deposit is required. The bunkhouse can hold sixty scouts, and has two rooms for chaperones. It includes showers and bathrooms.

The campground costs $5 per person per night, with a $150 per night minimum. A $100 deposit is required. Please review the Comet Campground Policy before camping onsite.

The Green Bank Observatory has a cafeteria that can provide meals. If you are interested in this option, please select “Meal Services” in your GBORS request.

Breakfast is $6/person; lunch is $7/person; and dinner is $9/person.

All weekends have a limit of forty-five scouts, so get your requests in as early as possible!

Use the Green Bank Observatory Reservation System (GBORS) to request a reservation. Make sure to select “Science Center & Educational Activities” when creating your request.