Fourteen students from Hawke's Bay schools got to swim before sunrise, traverse high ropes and climb rock faces while blindfolded at the first "Kaweka" Outward Bound course.
Flaxmere student Joel Fa'avae said it was hard to put in to words how incredible the experience was.
"It was amazing. The best thing was the way we learned about leadership through being outdoors. I've been inspired and learned that everyone has the power to make a difference in their community," Joel said.
The other 13 students pushed to their limits were from Flaxmere College, William Colenso, Te Aute College, Hukarere College, Karamu High School, Hastings Boys', Hastings Girls' and Wairoa College.
Outward Bound school director Simon Graney said the course was designed especially for the region's future young leaders.
"During their time at Outward Bound, the students built courage and resilience and got to experience success as a member of a team, identify their own values, develop an appreciation for the natural environment and experience being of service," Mr Graney said.
On Wednesday night, the adventure school hosted a Kaweka celebration at Napier's MTG, a gathering of students and their parents, Kaweka funders, school principals and teachers.
Outward Bound chief executive Victor Klap spoke of the importance of the Kaweka course and how it was made possible by the generosity of a family of donors.
"We are very grateful for the support of Kaweka ambassadors Brian Mahoney and Geoff Yates and the funding support of the Napier District Masonic Trust, Colenso Charitable Trust, Wallace Development Group, Russell Fairbrother QC and Napier Rotary," Mr Klap said.
Mr Graney said these future leaders had returned to Hawke's Bay and would now be able to share what they had learned with their school community.
"Outward Bound has changed me - I'm a better person and now have the motivation to really think about what I want out of my future," Joel said.