Over the winter of 2018/2019, the Sunnybrae Community Association were asked to participate in a program by Voice of the Shuswap Radio. It was a collection of history from Community Halls across the Shuswap. We thought some of you might enjoy the information broadcasted, so please find below a collection of Sunnybrae memories about the Sunnybrae Community Association and its role in the area since it’s establishment… in 1953!
The Sunnybrae Community Association began as a vision for locals, Doris & Ernest Needham. Attendance for their home events such as card parties, crafts and Sunday School was outgrowing their home and there was a need for a central facility to expand their community service.
So in 1953 the SCA was formed by Charles Mobley, Edwin Hacking, Louis & Vai Berger, Coral Nickleson, Ernie Needham and Harold Gee. Many of these families are still residents and active volunteers in the community today. At the time the Annual membership was set to a grand total of $1/year!
The same year on the 11th of March the Salmon Arm School District gifted land to the SCA, as well as Dorin R. Rollier of Tappen donating land for a net sale of $25 in March of 1954. Members of the community all pitched in, making contributions to cover the cost.
Fundraisers were also organized to help fund the association. Our historical meeting minutes for example show the SCA raising $13.44 at the Gleneden Auction, running a refreshment stand in September of 1954. A big thanks also goes out to 10 women from the community in October of 1954: cleaning, stuffing and storing 50 chickens for sales at the Carter’s Agency.
Dances were also held on a Saturday, once a month. And women from the community would circle the neighbourhood, collecting donations of eggs to make refreshments for the dance.
The building on the SCA land at the time had no running water. At community events, residents would pack water in metal creamery cans down to the hall from way up Mobley Road. One member’s fond memory was during board meetings, each member would have to bring down a block of wood down to the hall to keep the fire going.
By 1957 the Badminton club had started. This is a club which is still involved at the hall today, meeting up twice a week and run by local, Joan Clarke. Cards, bingo, swimming and painting classes also became successfully attended events in the community.
In 1959 our records show the “Joy Club” keeping up community attendance with games, bonfires, sing-alongs and stories. Thanks goes out to Mac Turner (of the Turner Family at Sunnybrae Vineyards & Winery) and Jim Farrell for providing material, labour, skates and sticks to provide an outdoor hockey rink for the locals.
In the 60’s locals organized an annual Auction and Pie Social in the Fall. Dean Trenholm was the auctioneer and volunteered his time. People brought along garden veggies, paintings, furniture, home-made jams and these were all auctioned off to raise money for the SCA. After the main auction, the left over pies were sold by the slice with coffee, or auctioned off for people to take home.
Other events in the 60s including Turkey dinners, weekly “whist” card nights every friday with prizes and the Young People’s Club. There were craft afternoons where parents came together to teach knitting, embroidery, crochet and crafts.
There were several Ball Games and practices days. In 1969 the minutes it is recorded that the youth “skunked the adults” at baseball, taking place at Garrod’s field near Badger Road.
The parents would also throw an end of School celebration, most kids being students Carlin School. This would start with a ball game at Garrod’s Field and end with a wiener roast and picnic on the beach (what is now Sunnybrae Park).
In the 70’s the community continued to organize swimming lessons, which now held Red Cross Swimming Tests. Sports day took place at the hall for the children in the summer, and was later held close to where the Bible Camp is situated. There was a joint community picnic started in 1977 where locals from Tappen, Carlin and White Lake got together for the day. The Tappen Co-op provided buns, wieners and cream: a contribution and support that is still given to our community today!
Christmas Concerts were also held in the winter with songs, choirs, skits and plays. Santa would come by at the end of the night with bags of candy for the children.
The SCA still played a very active role in the community in the 80s. Locals Karen Berger and Eila Power started a weekly playschool for the children, which took place Wednesday mornings. Minutes show a generous donation of $15 to the association.
Hall Rental at the time was set to $25 for the day and amongst the community activities, it still played host to public rentals for parties and weddings.
In June of 1984 the Sunnybrae Seniors also purchased a double-wide mobile home for their community centre and this further contributed to the community with events and gatherings.
By now, Cards, Bingo, playschool, Exercise class, painting class were still well attended by the community. Minutes record that the 55 member, Tappen 4H Sewing Club received a Provincial BC Grant of $86.25 to help continue their great work in the community.
By the 90s the hall was seeing great attendance, with very active volunteers bringing a wealth of experiences to the surrounding community. And it was in the late 90s that some local residents created a very valuable and long standing community event: The Sunnybrae Coffehouse. In 1997, Gord Milne and Joan Robertson started one of the first community open-mic Coffeehouse nights in the Shuswap. All were welcome, with performers getting in free and attendees paying $2 for admission: a cost that has only increased in a dollar since then. At 21 years old the Coffeehouse still remains to be one of the integral parts of community life in Sunnybrae. Taking place on the second saturday of each month, October through May, it continues to support local, live music and provides a great opportunity for the community to gather at our community hall.
It was in the early 2000s with flourishing community activity that it was decided the hall needed to be extended. In an effort to keep it affordable, 15 locals expressed interest in volunteering for the job, with local Chris Clarke agreeing to oversee the project. Chris made up the original drafts which were finalized by Linda Franklin.
Along with volunteers including Ron Power of Power Auto Body, Ryan Tanemura of Tanemura Electric, Garth Bauman, Phil Davies and many others they set to work in the year 2000. All the initial labour, material and other financing was taken up by the volunteers with granting and donations helping to finalize the project the following year.
Records express thanks to Big Foot Log Homes, Notch Hill Forest Products, Franklin Construction, Walper Lumber for donations, and Laverne and Barry Turner who volunteered to do ground work and prep.
The community activity continued to bloom in the 2000’s
In 2001 Hans Burl, Vai Berger and Janet Cloutier received Volunteer Service Awards from South Shuswap Community Society. As well as Chris Clarke receiving volunteer of the year in 2002.
In 2003 the SCA Celebrated 50 years as an association, with a community BBQ, face painting and “shuffles” the clown, courtesy of Joan Clarke.
By 2004 Clubs now include Karate, Art, Cards, Badminton, Ham Radio, Swimming, the Coffeehouse and Kids Club.
In 2010 the SCA Board commit to raising funds for hall interior renovations and exterior expansion to bring facility up to date, with several upgrades to improve the facility’s energy efficient.
Annual plant & book sales were a fundraising staple, and along with harvest dances with Shuswap band Birchbark, special dance fundraisers organized by several volunteers, Halloween nights with the Tappen Sunnybrae Fire Dept, and grant applications all finally led to an interior and exterior makeover that bring you the Sunnybrae Hall we see today.
The SCA still continues to service the community today with a board of 8 volunteers and a very supportive Shuswap Community. And it is volunteer and community work that keeps these cerntal community facility’s alive, providing a space for all in the Shuswap area to share.
Thanks goes out to Gail Burkitt, Laura Burkitt, Lois Penner, Chris Clake, Karen Berger, Vicki Green and other past members of the association for helping to record, document and collate all this wonderful history.
In memory of a very treasured volunteer, we adjourn this piece in memory of Hans Burl of Mobley Road: a local community member who always took, and enjoyed, the opportunity to adjourn our general meetings.