EMPOWER's 10th Season Celebration

MIDDLETOWN, CT (APRIL 16, 2018) – Empower Leadership Sports & Adventure Center, Southern New England’s only treetop zip line canopy tour, is proud to announce they are celebrating 10 seasons of zip lining fun and empowerment in Middletown, Connecticut.

An Anniversary Celebration is planned for 3:30pm on Wednesday, April 25th at the Adventure center. Open to the public, the celebration begins with an opening ceremony to commemorate this milestone with Empower Executives, civic partners and local media.  Immediately following, attendees will have an opportunity to experience a zip line canopy tour, try a sampling of ground based team building activities, and enjoy a post experience social.

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Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders Through Team Building Experiences

Organized sports and outdoor adventure provide a forum for children to develop leadership qualities. Empower Adventures explains the importance of these qualities and learning them at a young age.

In the United States, organized sports are a significant part of the physical, psychological and cognitive development of youth. Research indicates that 75% of U.S. families have at least one child who participates in organized sports. An estimated 45 million American children and adolescents are involved in some form of youth sports. According to the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, when considering goals and motivation for involvement, most children consider fairness, participation and the development of skills as paramount, with winning taking a back seat. However, most adults believe their children are most motivated by winning. Joe DeRing, founder and president of Empower Adventures, considers this disconnect a serious problem within organized youth sports.

EMPOWER on Better Connecticut

Empower Adventures: Transforming Workplace Warriors into Teams Through Tree Top Zip Lining

Leadership to blame for high turnover: Successful teambuilding exercises, such as zip lining outdoor adventures engage employees, improve communication and promote trust among colleagues.

Research has shown that happy, engaged employees perform better and stay with their employer longer.According to recent data, highly engaged employees were 87% less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts.Companies with engaged employees earn 2.5 times their competitors with low engagement levels.Leadership experts, like Empower Adventures’ Joe DeRing, believe that the more time employees spend with each other, the more engaged they will become.

Read more about building more connected teams through adventure here.

Daytrippin' at EMPOWER - Zip & Sip Adventure

Jimmy Altman, from FOX61, and the crew from Daytrippers visited EMPOWER and put together an awesome TV segment on our Zip & Sip Adventure. The Zip & Sip Adventure is a collaboration between EMPOWER and The Inn at Middletown – featuring 2 hours of tree top zip lining on the adventure park at EMPOWER followed by delicious appetizers and adult beverages at The Inn’s Tavern at the Armory. Check out Jimmy’s Daytrippers piece here.


MARC Community Resources, Ltd.

On April 29th, 2017, Over the Edge will be hosting a unique and adventurous rappelling fundraiser benefiting MARC Community Resources – a non-profit providing services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. EMPOWER was happy to host a few visitors for a rappelling commercial shoot in January. EMPOWER will also be running a few “rappel practice” sessions for 24 lucky fundraisers who will be participating in the event. Please consider contributing to the event and all of the great services provided by MARC!

Over the Edge Fundraising Event

Student Helping Students - Peer Mentoring Conference at Naugatuck High School

WFSB 3 Connecticut

EMPOWER had the pleasure of participating in a Peer Mentoring Conference at Naugatuck High School on January 12th, 2017. The Conference was organized by 3 members of the high school’s DECA Leadership Program in partnership with Naugatuck Public Schools and Naugatuck Youth & Family Services. The event focused on connecting middle school boys with 20 high school mentors; leveraging those positive relationships to combat self-esteem and self-confidence issues among male middle school students in Naugatuck. The program included opening remarks from Mayor Pete Hess, an interactive leadership presentation from EMPOWER, as well as relationship building and problem solving activities led by the high school mentors and EMPOWER. Over 60 middle school students participated in the kickoff program on Thursday. The relationships formed between the middle school students and their high school mentors will continue to be cultivated through future programs in Naugatuck.

R-J Staffers try zip lining through the trees in Middletown

EMPOWER Leadership Adventure Center had the pleasure of recently hosting Farrah Duffany and Pete Paguaga from the Meriden Record Journal for a zip line adventure and to learn more about our Fall Halloween zip lining adventure. Check out the article and video from their visit! Farrah and Pete were both awesome up on the course – both worked through some fears and completed each and every challenge they were faced with. The EMPOWER team had a blast leading them through the tree tops!

Veteran-Owned Leadership Center to Host UConn School of Business Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

Middletown, CT (October 8, 2016) – Veteran owned business, EMPOWER Leadership Adventure Center, will host, and facilitate a leadership development adventure program for, 24 veterans as part of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) offered by the University of Connecticut School of Business.

On Saturday October 8, 2016, from 8:15AM to 5:00PM, UConn School of Business EBV will visit EMPOWER Leadership Adventure Center, located at 2011 South Main Street in Middletown, CT 06457. Veteran participants will take part in a series of aerial and ground-based adventure challenges designed and led by EMPOWER founder and former United States Army Ranger, Joe DeRing. The purpose of this upcoming program is to provide the veteran participants with an experiential adventure training which will supplement the curriculum of the EBV.

The EBV is a novel and ‘one-of-a-kind’ initiative designed to leverage the skills, resources, and infrastructure of higher education to offer a cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to veterans with disabilities resulting from their military service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Directed by UConn MBA Alumnus and retired Marine Corps LtCol, Michael Zacchea, the mission of the program is to open the door to entrepreneurial opportunity for our veterans, by leveraging cutting edge educational technology and principles of universal design and access to our program of instruction, in order to develop their competencies in the many steps and activities associated with creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture. The EBV has become an integral component of the Department of Defense’s efforts to transition military members with disabilities from military to civilian life. In 2009, the Department of the Army named the EBV as a national ‘best practice’ for programs serving soldiers and their families.

Before opening EMPOWER Leadership Adventure Center in 2009, Joe DeRing was commissioned into the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer with the rank of second lieutenant. As a lieutenant, Joe led light and motorized platoons of up to 60 men in combat operations as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). For his efforts and the success of his teams throughout OIF from 2003-2004, Joe was presented the Bronze Star. Joe was send back overseas to support Operation Enduring Freedom in September 2006. He was sent to Afghanistan to help lead a special working group in “Effects Targeting”, and his group was charged with developing, instituting, and publishing a standard operating procedure detailing proper implementation of non-lethal war fighting measures for the Afghan Nation Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) force. Joe led the effort to train all ANA and ANP forces across the country of Afghanistan and, for his leadership of the “Effects Working Group”, Joe received the Army’s Meritorious Service Medal.

EMPOWER Leadership Adventure Center has hosted over 70,000 participants for family-based leisure adventures, corporate team training and wellness development, youth leadership and character development, and athletic team leadership skill development.

Middletown Adventure Center Encourages Guests to Push Boundaries

Adventure experiences with a purpose at EMPOWER in Middletown. Some individuals and groups take part in adventure experiences as a way to achieve exciting, adrenaline-pumping thrills. While adventuring is typically fun for most, there are several benefits to group adventure experiences beyond thrills, laughter and excitement – including leadership skill development, improved problem solving tactics and communication, trust and relationship development, more efficient team systems of operation, and a stronger sense of a collective team as opposed to a collection of individuals.

EMPOWER’s Leadership and Team Development Adventures feature lessons derived from Founder Joe DeRing’s real-world training as a Captain and Ranger in the United States Army and from General Manager Dan Jaskot’s experience in traditional, adventure and experiential education. Combining their 15 years of field-training and professional experiences, Joe and Dan have created an Adventure Training Curriculum designed to produce results!

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Adventure Center Challenges Connecticut Groups

Discover your sense of adventure at EMPOWER Leadership Adventure Center in Middletown. Adventure is defined as unusual, exciting, and sometimes hazardous exploration into unknown territory. Adventuring involves many emotions – fear, adrenaline, uncertainty, and a level of risk. Participating in positive adventure (high reward/low risk) can turn an individual’s fear and nervousness into higher levels of self-confidence, feelings of achievement, and an increased willingness to take on, and overcome, positive risks/challenges. Adventuring in groups also leads to an amazing bond forged by a group sharing the common goal of “conquering the mountain” as opposed to going around it!

Discover (or re-discover) your sense of adventure this Summer – find your mountain, make sure that the yield is positive, and get ready for excitement, adrenaline, amazing shared memories, and the undeniably addicting sense of accomplishment!

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