Dickinson Rocks: Dickinson families inspired to take part in national rock painting phenomenon
As soon as Andrea Spicer of Dickinson gave them the go-ahead, three of her children tore across Rocky Butte Park and hid a trayful of decorated rocks. In just a few minutes, the tray was empty and the rocks, which Andrea and the kids had decorate...
As soon as Andrea Spicer of Dickinson gave them the go-ahead, three of her children tore across Rocky Butte Park and hid a trayful of decorated rocks. In just a few minutes, the tray was empty and the rocks, which Andrea and the kids had decorated, lay scattered among trees and bushes around the park.
Her kids painted one rock to look like a hot dog, another to look like the face of Spider-Man. They painted a heart-shaped rock pink and wrote the word "Love" across it. The back of each rock was labeled with the words "Dickinson ND Rocks," the name of the Facebook group that prompted Spicer and her kids to take part in painting and hiding the rocks.
The Facebook group was started about a month ago by Dickinson resident Jess Sherman. Sherman started the group, which has now grown to nearly 250 members, after hearing about similar groups from her mother in Georgia. The process for getting started is fairly simple.
"Well first, you have to find some rocks," she said.
Sherman advises members of the group not to take rocks from "public parks, national parks or private property," but rather to get the rocks at Walmart or another store that sells them. After finding the rocks, "people need their supplies," Sherman said.
The rocks can be decorated with acrylic paint, sharpies, or "whatever works," and Sherman said the rocks should be marked with the name of the Facebook group "Dickinson ND Rocks." Finally, they should be finished with a sealant so the art is protected from the elements.
"As far as hiding goes, anywhere is acceptable as long as it's safe for children," Sherman said. "If you wouldn't want your child hiding or finding in a particular area, then don't do it yourself." After hiding the rocks, members post hints on Facebook about where to find the rocks.
"If you find them, you can keep them or re-hide them," Spicer said.
The idea for the project originated on the Cape Cod peninsula of Massachusetts during summer 2015, according to a Boston Globe article. One day, Megan Murphy, a life coach based in the area, was walking near a rocky beach and decided to write "You've Got This" on a rock and left it there. A friend of hers found the rock and thanked her, which prompted her to decorate more rocks with pictures and encouraging messages.
Murphy soon began calling the activity "The Kindness Rocks Project" and later took to social media to encourage others to get involved. Since then, groups like "Dickinson ND Rocks" have been "spreading like wildfire from state to state," Sherman said.
The project has now grown even beyond U.S. borders. The Kindness Rock Project says decorated rocks have been found in countries as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, Thailand, Haiti and England.
For Spicer, "Dickinson ND Rocks" has provided a positive summer outlet for her children. "Not only at home does it get them away from screen time, but when we go looking for them it gets them outside and active," she said.
Spicer is also excited about bringing the project elsewhere.
"Anytime we leave town, we can take rocks with us and hide them," she said.
Sherman is excited to unlock the creative potential of Dickinson's youths.
"Children have very active imaginations and can be very creative at times. It's about time we've done something to show (their) creativity," she said.
The "Dickinson ND Rocks" group's membership of roughly 250 is rapidly growing. Seventy-five new members have signed up within the last few days. Sherman also plans to "keep this going for as long as I am able to," so expect to see more rocks around Dickinson with colorful pictures and encouraging quotes.
"Who wouldn't love to find a rock a child made when they're having a rough day?" Sherman said.