THEY got soaked in the rain, sweated under the blazing sun; rowed desperately across the ocean; and bellowed helplessly on the cliffs. They learnt to plan ahead before tackling challenging tasks, and to evaluate their actions after heart-pounding experiences. But in the end, the students who took part in the Outward Bound School triumphed over their fears and took home not only bruises and wounds, but pride and satisfaction, and a deeper understanding and faith in themselves. Raymond Cheng Hing-lung, 15, said he could not wait to return to the Outward Bound School this summer after spending time on the Ji Fung doing the Sea Discovery course last year. 'I used to feel insecure and thought that others were better at things than me, but the experience I gained here makes me believe that I can do well too. 'It was a super learning experience. It uproots your fear, and builds up your faith in yourself. I used to have a phobia of heights, but I managed to climb up to the tip of the mast of the Ji Fung,' Raymond said with a satisfied smile. This year, Raymond enrolled in the Youth Adventure programme in Wong Wan Chau where he joined 30 other youngsters for a rugged week of living on a deserted island. The students took part in various activities which not only helped them recognise their own strengths and abilities, but encouraged them to go beyond their self-imposed limits. Ho Po-kee, 15, was also enjoying her second Outward Bound experience. 'I can still remember my first time: going canoeing, climbing, a morning dip at 6 am. It was great fun and I learnt to become more independent. I hardly have a chance to make decisions back home, but I do here. It's really tough and tiring, but you feel good when you complete it. 'You have to do tasks that you have never done, that you have never thought of doing, and that you don't think you can do; and in the end you make it,' said Po-kee. At the Outward Bound School, instructors neither solve problems for the students nor push them to perform any task. They provide guidance and support, ensure a safe environment for the trainees to pick up skills, and help them evaluate and improve on their efforts. The co-ordinator of the school's Wong Wan Chau base, Neil Parks, said many people saw their programme as survival training, but it was the trainees' personal development that the school aimed to boost. 'They are given challenges relative to their own ability and are never asked to do what they can't do.' Students have to put aside their fears to face the challenges. 'Sometimes I find the instructor very cruel, he is there but he doesn't offer any help. But we understand he is actually leaving us to resolve the problem by ourselves and that's what the whole course is about,' Po-kee said. A day in the base starts at six in the morning. The students work in groups, dealing with daily tasks such as cleaning and cooking, then head off to face challenging tasks such as orienteering, rock climbing and canoeing. One of the most thrilling challenges all trainees face is to clamber up and down a rocky cliff, gasping and grasping like Spiderman. Heidi Lam Man-ching, 17, had a terrifying 40 minutes stuck halfway up the perilous route. 'I was scared to death, but I never thought of giving up. The only thing in my mind was to reach the top,' she said as she staggered to join her teammates. 'I would never had made it without their cheers and support. They let you know that someone is around to help, although it isn't physical assistance that they give you,' she spluttered. The school, established in Hong Kong 25 years ago, offers courses for people aged eight and upwards.