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Getting First-Timers Into the Wild (and a Chili Recipe)

Posted by Erika Haugen-Goodman at Sep 01, 2015 10:45 AM |

WTA's Gear Library helps get first-timers gain access to gear and know-how to experience the outdoors.

Recently, The Seattle Times took a trip with a group of families who had been trained by WTA's Outdoor Leadership Training team to see how WTA provides resources and training for urban families to experience the outdoors.

The training is all-inclusive, covering everything from how to set up a tent to cooking quality meals, to loaning gear to youth groups from the WTA Gear Library.

“We’re not trying to promote the idea that (campers and hikers) need brand-new equipment to enjoy the outdoors, but you do need appropriate gear,” said Andrew Pringle, who heads the Outdoor Leadership Program.

One of the highlights of the trip (along with learning the ins and outs of camping), was the famed three-bean chili recipe, provided by WTA. Pringle intended it as a “one-pot recipe” that makes camping that much less stressful and more unifying for new campers. “It’s really, I think, the meals where everybody comes together and you get a sense of community”.

If you're interested in taking your students or youth group camping, check out the upcoming workshops hosted by Andrew and the Outdoor Leadership Training Team.

OLT Camano Island ST
Participants at an OLT camping workshop learning to plan and lead youth trips. Photo by Andrew Pringle.

Three-bean chili recipe

4 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

4 teaspoons minced garlic

¾ cup water

4 tablespoons tomato paste

4 teaspoons chili powder

4 teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 (15½-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

2 (15½-ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 (15½-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

2 (14½-ounce) cans vegetable broth

2 (14½-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

12 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream


1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes.

3. Stir in water and next nine ingredients (through diced tomatoes); bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat, and simmer 10+ minutes.

5. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro. Serve with sour cream.

You can read more about the group's outing at Camano Island State Park in the Seattle Times article.