Hanging upside down metres above the ground proved just the ticket to unlocking leadership qualities in some of Wagga's high school students.
Chosen from each school in the city, 24 Year 11 students took part in Thursday's challenges as part of their involvement with the Committee 4 Wagga school leadership program.
"It's about building our teamwork and our confidence together," said 16-year-old Ben Nosworthy from Kooringal High School.
"We all met for the first time in February, so if we didn't come to Kapooka, I think we'd be a little shy and not engaging much."
Under the guidance of Major James Van Strijp, an Afghanistan returned serviceman, and Corporal Gabby Hammond, head of Kapooka Defence Force recruitment, the students took turns to descend the 1000-metre rope tower.
For the bravest among them, the descent was done not only backwards, but upside-down.
"It was very terrifying, abseiling down it and hanging off the sides and stuff, I was thinking, 'Am I going to fall? Is this going to be a whole thing?'," Ben said.
Kildare Catholic College 16-year-old Asha Murphy relished the adrenaline hit.
"This module was the one I was looking forward to the most. I think this is the one where we've all come together and we're starting to develop friendships that will last a long time," said Asha.
"It's also incredibly rewarding seeing someone else get over their fear through the encouragement you've given them."
Beginning in February the leadership program has now been running for four years.
Through a series of physical and mental challenges, it is intended to harness the innate qualities that will stand them in good stead for their post-school lives.
"Involving the rope tower exposes the year 11 students to fear, stress, and anxiety," said Major Van Strijp.
"It's helping them build ways to deal with fear, stress, and anxiety when they come up in life.
"These are skills that can be used in general life, not just in the army."
Acting as a mentor throughout the exercise, it was Corporal Hammond identified emerging character traits in the students that she said would make them strong city leaders in time.
"There's a lot of great potential here, just in the way they are willing to push beyond their own boundaries and develop teamwork," she said.
"Overcoming stress is something we all have to learn. For me, it could be the stress of the battlefield, but for them, it might be passing their P's test or preparing for exams. We all face stress."