Rock Lodge opening marks ‘dream come true’ for Girlguiding
Close to 10 years after its closure Girlguiding Gibraltar has celebrated the Rock Lodge’s official re-opening.
The facility formerly known as the ‘Brownie Hut’ has undergone an extensive refurbishment, and formally opened by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo on Tuesday evening.
The project was started by former Girlguiding Commissioner Laty Edmonds, former Commissioner Valerie Makey continued the work when she took up her post in 2011, and this has now been completed under the incumbent Commissioner Marie Bocarisa.
The re-development includes a dormitory which sleeps 24 people, new toilets and showers, an accessible wet room, and separate leaders sleeping area.
Works on the site located in the Upper Rock have been supported by the Gibraltar Government.
Mr Picardo recognised Girlguiding Gibraltar for their extensive youth work and drive in ensuring Rock Lodge’s completion.
“I am immensely proud of the passion of which you defend Girlguiding and the work that you do with young Gibraltarian women, and of the work that has been done here,” said Mr Picardo.
Mrs Bocarisa commended Girlguiding Gibraltar for keeping the spirit of outdoor activities and camping alive for the past decade while the Rock Lodge was shut.
She also thanked the Gibraltar Scouts Association for making their GLO facilities available to Girlguiding when possible.
“We can now reciprocate,” Mrs Bocarisa said.
Governor Lt Gen Edward Davis gave an address on behalf of his wife Lorraine, the President of Girlguiding Gibraltar, who was unable to attend the official opening.
“This is such a wonderful facility,” said Lt Gen Davis.
Lt Gen Davis commended Girlguiding Gibraltar for their work and added that the Rock Lodge “proves good things are worth waiting for”.
“It is a place to learn, grow and smile, and I am absolutely delighted to be here on behalf of Lorraine to open this for the future rainbows, brownies, guides and rangers,” said Lt Gen Davis.
Mrs Makey called the opening of Rock Lodge as a “dream come true”, adding that the task of refurbishing the Lodge was at the forefront throughout her commissionership.
“It has not been an easy journey, with many meetings and negotiations required, but ultimately government support came through,” Mrs Makey said.
Mrs Makey thanked the Minister for Youth Steven Linares and the Minister for Equality Samantha Sacramento for their support.
She also thanked project manager Michael Pizzarello, architect Dennis Mosquera. the team at JBS, as well as Claire Montado and Katrina Edmonds Busto from Girlguiding.
“Most of us here tonight have very fond memories of this place,” said Mrs Makey.
“Just as generations did before us and now we can ensure that our future members both local and international can enjoy it too.”
In an emotional speech Mrs Makey took a moment to remember those who are no longer with Girlguiding Gibraltar today.
Branch Advisor from Girlguiding UK Rebecca Cook said the opening of Rock Lodge was an “immense” achievement.
“The last time I visited Gibraltar in 2017 the building had been stripped out and it was just a shell,” Ms Cook said.
“There was absolutely nothing here. I have to say it looked very sad, but there was an immense feeling of excitement.”
Ms Cook thanked all those who helped in any stage of the works on Rock Lodge.