Passing on Key Lessons

How InterVarsity Shaped My Approach to Youth Ministry

By Alyssa Massecar 

I was 17 years old when I first was introduced to InterVarsity through Pioneer Camp in Ontario. Up until that point I had grown up in church and had a strong head knowledge of who God was but had been hurt by church. I was untrusting of Christians, full of doubt that God cared about me, and almost ready to give up, but I was also searching for something that could change my mind.


I was invited to come to Pioneer Camp, specifically a program called 252, named for Luke 2:52. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”


The camp was a co-ed camp program for high school kids that also helped them get their community service hours required for graduation.

I was skeptical at first, but those two weeks at 252 changed my life. I had a significant encounter with God during that session, largely through the incredible leaders who loved me and gave up their time for kids like me. I realized that I mattered, that God loved me, and He had a purpose for my life.

University Connection


That summer was just the start of my time with InterVarsity. When I first started university the next year, I wanted to get connected with a Christian group, but I wasn’t quite sure how. I spent my first year not going to church or clubs, and I felt like something was just missing.


The spring after my first year, I went back to Pioneer Camp where I made some friends who went to the same university as me and were a part of InterVarsity.

That fall, I went with them to manuscript Bible studies and potlucks and found a community of people who walked together in their faith, challenging each other, and doing life together. It was in this group that I grew so much in my faith, challenged my beliefs, and learned more about following God’s plan for my life. I met people who would become lifelong friends that I can share the deepest and scariest thoughts and questions of my faith with, and it was there that I also met my husband.

Church Ministry


Now, working at a church as a Youth Ministries Coordinator, I find that my experiences within InterVarsity have shaped how I lead and teach this next generation. As a 17-year-old going to Pioneer Camp for the first time, I was in no way ready to go to the Leaders-in-Training program that most other people my age were attending. I wasn’t where I was expected to be at my age. I so desperately needed to encounter God and 252 was the perfect place for me to do that.


At such a critical time in my life, I am so grateful for the people God was using to reach the kids who didn’t fit the mold, to show me that I was still worthy, and that God still had a plan for me.

In my role now, that is exactly the experience that I draw from, to reach kids who often fall through the cracks; whose journey to leadership and use of their God-given gifts is not linear.


I’m so thankful for the ways that God used InterVarsity ministries in my teenage and young adult years to shape my life and strengthen my faith, and I pray that I will make room for Him to use my experiences and my story for His glory.

Help Grow Faith in the Crucial Years