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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Grandparents making tradition of outdoor adventures

UPDATED: Sat., June 16, 2018

Led by a guide, far left, the Decker family (from left), Linda, Brandon, Andy, Colin and Alec, take a trip down the Spokane River with Wiley E. Waters Whitewater Rafting, Thursday, June 14, 2018. Linda and Andy gave their grandchildren the trip as a Christmas gift. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Led by a guide, far left, the Decker family (from left), Linda, Brandon, Andy, Colin and Alec, take a trip down the Spokane River with Wiley E. Waters Whitewater Rafting, Thursday, June 14, 2018. Linda and Andy gave their grandchildren the trip as a Christmas gift. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Three years ago, Andy and Linda Decker accidentally started a Christmas tradition with their three grandsons.

“Instead of buying them the usual stuff for Christmas, we decided we wanted to do some kind of activity with them,” said Andy Decker.

That’s how Andy and Linda ended up rafting the Spokane River Thursday with their three grandsons – Alec Decker, 13, Brandon Decker, 12, and Collin Decker, 10.

The family was guided down the river by Wiley E. Waters rafting company. The river, which was running at about 8,000 cubic feet per second, gave the group a good ride and some splashes.

“It was fun to go on the rapids,” said Alec Decker.

In addition to enjoying spending time with their grandchildren outside, Andy and Linda see their active tradition as a way to keep the boys moving.

Study after study shows a steep drop-off in the amount of physical activity children get from ages 7 to 15.

“Like I said, we’re kind of the outdoor grandparents,” Andy Decker, 67, said. “Rather than take them to a show.”

That’s how they raised their own kids. And it seems to have paid off.

“It’s in their DNA now,” Andy Decker said. “Our son bought a travel trailer and they try and get out as often as they can during the camping months.”

So far the Deckers have spent a week at a dude ranch, gone parasailing on Lake Coeur d’Alene and rafted the Spokane River.

The boys are advocating for a rock climbing or a rappelling adventure next year. But Andy and Linda do have some boundaries.

“They have to come up with a good idea that we’re still capable of doing,” Andy Decker said.

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