SOOKE HISTORY: The Brownie bake sale

SOOKE HISTORY: The Brownie bake sale

For almost 100 years, Girl Guide groups have been part of the fibre of the Sooke community.

Years ago, young girls could spend three years in Brownies before “Flying up” to Girl Guides at age 10 or 11. Nowadays they can start out as Sparks at age 5 and 6, and then go on to Brownies; the ages for Girl Guides are younger now as well.

Part of the training for these youngsters involves learning about civic responsibility.

For the young girls pictured, way back in 1973 (we think) the cakes they were lined up to sell would have been made by their mothers, of course, in the age-old custom of mothers.

These girls belonged to the Saseenos Brownie pack, and met in the Saseenos School gym. Fund-raising goes with the territory, and today we often see youngsters on weekends selling Girl Guide cookies.

At left in this view is Vicky Swift, one of three children of Kathy Swift, a woman who became well-known for her musical leadership and soirees throughout our community.

While Vicky has been away from Sooke for years, her brother Martin Swift is known by many residents as a skilled local stonemason. Vicky and her family live in Quebec, where she is administrator for a literacy council.

Next is Ingrid Wickheim, eldest daughter of Ardy and Barbara Wickheim.

Ingrid grew up to serve several years in the armed forces, and today runs her own accounting firm in Sooke. We think we know the name of the littlest Brownie, Loralee Usselman, perhaps a reader can confirm for us?

Next is Maxine Bullen, youngest child of Sally and Glenn Bullen. Maxine, now Mrs. Harvey Dillabough, lives at 108 Mile in the Cariboo, and works at the hospital at 100 Mile.

The Brownie in the white sweater is Angela Wood. On the right is Lisa Newman, daughter of Bill and Evelyn Newman, longtime sports supporters in Sooke, now in Campbell River. We are sad to report that Lisa, who became Mrs. David Hayman, has passed away.

Today there are two Brownie packs in the community. Along with the Girl Guides, and the group of younger Sparks, they each meet at the Brownie Camp on Sooke River Road.

We commend the forethought of community leaders who arranged the purchase of land for the Milnes Landing Camp on the river, way back in 1938.


Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.