Jen Mascardo is the Games Coordinator at Charis Camp this Summer. Get to know the new girl on the block in this exclusive interview write up by our very own Danaye Reinhardt!
Jen Mascardo is a new face to Charis Camp, but she is not arriving empty handed. With a youth ministry internship under her belt and fresh ideas at her fingertips, she is a smiling and enthusiastic part of our team.
What have these past few years looked like for Jen?
After she graduated high school in 2017, Jen began a year-long youth internship at her home-church in Burnaby. During this year she felt called—and prompted by her pastors at Willingdon Church—to attend a Bible college the following year. That’s how she ended up spending the past year at Columbia Bible College majoring in Intercultural Studies and minoring in Youth Work.
“This past year,” she says, “I had to leave the community that God built for me. I spent my last two years of high-school as a student leader for my own youth group. This youth group is where I found a church family that helped me grow in my relationship with Christ. Through pastors, mentors and friends pouring into me, I was able to take what I had learned to serve my church through my internship and build relationships with people outside of my own youth group.
“This past year, God uprooted me from the familiar and sent me out to Abbotsford [to CBC] where it’s a whole new world. The culture, the people and the landscape all are new to me even though it’s only an hour-drive away from home. This year has been very stretching because I had to adapt and discover my identity in Christ, away from what I was familiar with.”
How did Jen get connected with Charis Camp?
During this last year at CBC, one of the school chaplains asked her if she had ever volunteered at a full-fledged camp before. Her natural response was, “No, I’m not that intense. I’m not up for the sleep deprivation, cafeteria food, and endless campfire songs.”
But God had other plans. The chaplain challenged her to pray about it and the idea of going to camp remained in her heart throughout the winter. The following spring, she met Marty and Leslie at Mission’s Fest. “They were just so intentional and kind and they talked a lot about pouring into leaders, which I highly value,” she says. Now, as part of the program team, Jen will be the one pouring into kids and leaders.
It will come with adjustments, of course, but nothing Jen isn’t ready to take on. “Through my year of working with youth and learning how to craft events, I think God, in His own way, has prepared me for this position. I’m excited to see how I can learn in another new environment and apply things that I’ve already learned to honour God.”
What will Jen be doing at Charis this Summer?
This summer, Jen will be working with Devon as Game Coordinators – a perfect fit because she is passionate about games, sports, or anything active! In fact, in the fall, she will be on CBC’s women’s basketball team for a second year! Not only is she a natural athlete, but she sees sports to be a great way to connect with youth.
“Before I became a Christian,” she says, “I performed well in sports out of sheer pride, to fulfill my desire to be perfect. This is big part of my testimony - trying to be perfect in school and sports, in essence working hard to ensure my own success. But now that I’ve come to know Christ, I’m learning that He takes these skills that I have in sports, my enthusiasm and passion, and uses it as a way to bring people together - especially with youth. He has equipped me to use sports as a tool to break down walls for true relationships to be fostered. Kids are not going to sit down and have coffee with you, but they’ll definitely play a game with you.”
Written by Danaye Reinhardt