East Campus Prepared Daniel Jaskot '02 for a Career in Outdoor Adventure Education | Springfield College

East Campus Prepared Daniel Jaskot '02 for a Career in Outdoor Adventure Education


Springfield College alumnus Daniel Jaskot ’02 cherishes the connections and friendships he deveoped at East Campus.


By: Damon Markiewicz

Springfield College alumnus Daniel Jaskot ’02 concluded his first-year on campus in the spring of 1999, preparing for Outdoor Pursuits (previously known as Freshman Camp). It was this experience that helped him discover his passion for outdoor adventure education.

Jaskot is the current president of Empower Leadership, a company that represents a collection of leadership experts who share a passion for adventure and helping others.

“Outdoor Pursuits was my introduction to East Campus, and my discovery of loving outdoor adventure education,” explained Jaskot. “Because I was able to take part in Outdoor Pursuits, I discovered so many new experiences that I really enjoyed. Prior to my time at Springfield College, I had never been camping, and I never did any outdoor recreation at all. East Campus and Outdoor Pursuits was my intro, and it’s had such a positive impact on my life.”

Jaskot’s participation in Outdoor Pursuits also connected him with Professor Ted France ’91, G’93, for the first time. It’s through his mentorship with France that helped Jaskot develop a great passion for teaching leadership, team building, and interpersonal skills, through adventure. 

“Starting at Outdoor Pursuits, and continuing into my sophomore year, I started to learn how to integrate outdoor adventure education into high school physical education classes through Ted’s teaching,” explained Jaskot. “I was able to serve as Ted’s graduate assistant in 2005, which led to even more teaching opportunities at East Campus. I also continued on with Outdoor Pursuits as a unit leader, so I was very fortunate to be involved in these experiences that were just preparing me for my professional career.”

Following his time as a student on campus, Jaskot started to work at the Children's Study Home Mill Pond School, just a short ride from the Springfield College campus.

“I was able to stay connected with Ted while I was working at the Mill Pond School, knowing he needed students for his teaching methods course, and I was able to bring the students I was working with to East Campus,” described Jaskot. “I was teaching at a behavioral school, focused on experiential adventure education, and this really reinforced my commitment to working with youth. I was able to witness the positive impact the programming at East Campus had on them.”

As Jaskot was continuing his career working with middle school and high school students, it was his own re-connection with a high school friend in 2009 that guided him to a new professional challenge.

“The founder of Empower Leadership, Joe DeRing, knew myself and my parents from our high school days,” explained Jaskot. “Joe was having dinner with my parents when he explained this company idea he was getting set up to launch. That’s when I heard from my parents that I should connect with Joe because his company idea was in line with what I wanted to do in my career. The focus was on team building and leadership development for groups.”

The business model was cut right out of everything Jaskot had learned during his experiences at East Campus. Lessons focused on treating people well, going above and beyond from a customer service standpoint, and keeping people safe.

“Pretty much everything I use when working with groups was developed and learned from my time at East Campus and Springfield College,” described Jaskot. “The games, activities, team-building initiatives, the challenges, learning concepts, all come from experiences at East Campus.”

Because of the impact Springfield College and East Campus has had on Jaskot’s life and career, it’s been an easy decision to make sure he is giving back to the campus on an annual basis.

“Springfield College is filled with a lot of great people,” said Jaskot. “Ted and Michael Boulden ’96, G’98, I learned a lot from. You continue to see the great work that Ben Taylor ’99, G’15, and Angela Veatch, G’07, do, and how they continue to grow the impact of East Campus on so many people.”

Jaskot went on to add, “You develop so many great relationships at East Campus, and you don’t find that everywhere you go. When you are on campus, you have a lot of growth opportunities, and the opportunities prepare you for life. A big part of who I am is because everything I experienced at East Campus. It’s so important to give back, and maintain those connections.”

And now with more than 20 years of experience designing and leading experiential adventures for corporate teams, youth groups, and athletic teams, the idea of accepting new challenges is just a way of life for Jaskot.

“Again, it all goes back to Outdoor Pursuits for me, it was huge in teaching those professional skills, working together, and preparing as a group,” explained Jaskot. “It’s all relatable to what I am doing now. The goals I set out to achieve are always focused on bringing the group I am working with together, and achieve a common goal.”