St. Clair College Chatham Campus Students Keep The Tradition Going

chatham students

PICTURED: St. Clair College, Chatham Campus' Police Foundations and Border Services volunteers at the 10th Annual Chatham-Kent & Lambton Children’s Water Festival included, left to right: Hannah Dykema, Trentin Parent, Daniel DeSousa, Kassidy Tew, Kara Coleman and Isaiah Dyck.

Absent for photo were Matt Curran, Mercedes Marentette and Kenna Ladd.

This past fall (2019) marked the tenth year that St. Clair College’s Chatham Campus students have provided a variety of volunteer security services for a local children’s festival.

Beginning in 2007 under course instructor Bill Ludwig of the Law and Security program, Chatham Campus students have come forward each year. They have gained volunteer security experience at the annual, three-day Chatham-Kent & Lambton Children’s Water Festival, held at the CM Wilson Conservation Area.

The festival is set up over a five-day period, and requires around-the-clock security to secure the site and its facilities.

Festival Coordinator Don Hector has been working with St. Clair College staff and students for the past ten years in maintaining this unique volunteer experience. “The St. Clair College security partnership is an important behind-the-scenes effort that very few are aware of, but it is a key part of making the festival a success each year,” he explained.

More recently, St. Clair’s revised law enforcement programs of Police Foundations and Border Services have contributed to this annual tradition by providing after-hours and overnight, 24-hour volunteer security services for this growing educational event.

Chatham Campus Program Coordinator Scott Braun sees this experience as a vital component of their one-year “fast-track” courses of study. “This event is an excellent opportunity for our students to gain experience in working with community partners on a large-scale initiative,” he said. “It provides them with skills that law enforcement agencies seek in a candidate: working shifts, being accountable for property security, and interacting with the public.”

Nine students were involved this past year in this annual festival event.

Some of the feedback from the student volunteers:

“The night security opportunity was an exceptional experience to help in my future law enforcement career. In my overnight shift, I was involved in a lot of things that are part of the security experience, such as routine checks and patrols. I really appreciated the opportunity.” – Trentin Parent, Police Foundations student.

“The festival provided me the opportunity to experience security work ... getting a taste of what night shifts were all about. I was very thankful for the opportunity to be able to be a part of the security at the festival.” - Hannah Dykema, Border Services student.

Since 2007, over 100 Chatham Campus students in a variety of law enforcement programs have provided over 1,000 volunteer hours in support of the Chatham-Kent & Lambton Children’s Water Festival.

The local Water Festival was established in 2006, and carried out its first festival in 2007. Almost 16,000 elementary students have attended this local educational event over the last decade. Water-themed activities include topics on water conservation, protection, science, technology and attitude, through 45 interactive, hands-on activities in an outdoor setting. Students from all school boards in the Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton areas attend this annual event. For more information, visit