The thing I came away with - we need to have higher expectations for our students. This is nothing new. We have heard it over and over. This was the first time I have truly witnessed the effects of having those higher expectations. The students were challenged - they could have given up; they could of complained; they could have said "this is too much"...and they might have been right. But we expected them to do it. And they did. And they were extremely glad they did. They had a strong sense of accomplishment. And they had tons of fun. Plus they weren't going to let "hop-a-long" beat them up the mountain.
One female student had, in the past, had a near death experience with canoeing. Her life jacket got stuck on some branches in a set of rapids. She almost drowned. Yet she came whitewater rafting - and she even did the cliff jump into freezing cold water...actually everyone did! She was glad that we had pushed her to do it. The most interesting part - the high expectations were easily transferable. Students started having higher expectations for themselves, and for each other. All this accomplishment and a highly successful experience just because "Little Hitler" believed in us. Thanks Little Hitler.