We are used to thinking of Jack Brooks with salmon conservation in Sooke, (think Jack Brooks Hatchery) and as a Boy Scout leader. It turns out he also started the first 4H Club in Sooke in 1953. Though it lasted only a couple of years, it had a good start, as demonstrated in this 1954 photo.
Holding their goats are: Ken Pitre (the Pitre family lived in Saseenos; while many Sookies know his brother Ross Pitre, we understand that Ken spent his working life as a biologist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the Fraser Valley).
Next is Roberta Adcock (later she became Mrs. Goudie); her grandparents kept goats at their Saseenos home in the 1920s and 1930s, so perhaps it was natural for Roberta to try raising goats at her parents’ home in Shirley.
Grant Elrose’s family home was on Sooke River Road; some locals will know his younger brother Melvin Elrose in Shirley today.
Next is Bernice Adcock, sister to Roberta, and a granddaughter of Grannie Brown who had the goats in Saseenos. Bernice became Mrs. Don Robinson.
The group was in abeyance until 1969 when Clara Knight again organized a Sooke 4H Club that had a membership of 20. During the next decade or so the club, under sponsorship of the Department of Agriculture, participated in raising beef cattle, sheep, swine and poultry besides kitchen crafts.
Among the 4H members in the 1970s were the two daughters of George and Sharon Pedneault, who excelled in beef production. When 12-year-old Cheryl Pedneault entered her Hereford steer at the Saanich Fall Fair, she was awarded Grand Champion, while 10-year-old Anne Marie’s steer won Reserve Grand Champion.
As well, the girls made fine showings elsewhere, winning titles with their entries at the PNE and at Fall Fairs at Duncan, Nanaimo, Courtenay and Cloverdale. Today Cheryl makes her home in Campbell River, while Anne Marie lives in Red Deer, Alberta.
On a recent visit to Sooke, Clara Knight reminisced about her 4H leadership days here, though we haven’t seen 4H in Sooke for some time now. Perhaps the “back to the earth” movement we are experiencing might see a resurgence of interest.
Elida Peers is the historian of Sooke Region Museum.