She’s known around McAdam Park as Cookie Grandma, and for these purposes, she needs no other name.
Cookie Grandma got involved in Cowichan Valley Minor Football in 2005, when her grandson, Garion Ferguson, started playing spring football. Like most other community sports, minor football relies on volunteers, and Cookie Grandma decided to do her part by helping out in the McAdam Park concession during Cowichan Bulldogs games and practices.
It wasn’t long before she started handing out homemade cookies to her grandson’s teammates after each home game. Ferguson insists that it wasn’t his idea, either.
“She did it because she loved to see kids playing sports and getting outside,” he recalled. “I never asked her to do it.”
Coaches took notice, and Ferguson soon became a sought-after player in the organization.
“Certain coaches were always asking to have Garion on their team,” said Opie Williams, a longtime volunteer with the Bulldogs who currently coaches the junior bantam squad. “Not only as a player, but for Cookie Grandma cookies as well.”
The tradition expanded from home games to road trips, and then to all Cowichan teams.
“She would even share to the visiting teams as well,” Williams said.
When the volunteer who ran the concession stepped down, Cookie Grandma volunteered for a new role. When Chris Mann asked the minor football association for someone to run the concession for Sun Bowl, Cookie Grandma stepped up again.
“That weekend is one of the club’s big fundraisers,” Williams said. “And she is there from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., putting in long hours just to help out.”
Ferguson aged out of minor football in 2015, and despite already having put in 10 years with the organization, Cookie Grandma is still involved, keeping the concession going three days a week for practices and for every home game during the football season.
“On her days that she isn’t at McAdam Park, she will go down and watch the VI Raiders or Westshore Rebels play,” Williams continued. “Players will still come up and give her a big hug and call her Cookie Grandma. She is often addressed as ‘Cookie Grandma’ by parents and kids alike. Some don’t even know her real name.”
The Bulldogs’ 2019 fall season home opener on Sunday, Sept. 1 happens to fall on Cookie Grandma’s 75th birthday, and she will be behind the counter at the concession once again, with cookies to celebrate after the game.
“For all of those who know this special lady, come down say hi, wish her a happy birthday and give her a big hug,” Williams suggested. “Thank you Cookie Grandma. We all love you.”