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Finding the rocks: Local groups find great family fun with hiding and finding painted rocks

Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Staff Writer
John Coffelt

Somewhat out of place, a brightly colored rock catches your eye around town. You may have seen one, a hand-decorated rock hidden just barely out of sight and wondered what is that?

Two Facebook groups with membership totaling 4,000 people are painting and hiding rocks all over the county for anyone to find. Take and re-hide or keep, it’s up to the finder.

“Make it fun, it’s about having fun and bringing families together, not a competition of who can paint the best rock or anything like that. Our goal is to have fun and put smiles on people’s face – finding that rock that is what they needed that day,” said Stephanie Cornelison, founder of the Facebook group, 931 Rock and Seek.

She started the group after seeing a similar group in the 615 calling area.

“Spoke with a lady out of the 615 area code, just to make sure it was OK. I wanted to make it kid friendly.”

Cornelison said that it make the group centered on kids, she made the name “Rock and Seek” a play on the game hide and seek.

“It brings kids, adults and all ages to our page. Our goal is to have fun with it.”

She said that the message on the rock and the quality of the art is less important than the joy of sharing a happy thought with someone.

“It’s to put a smile on someone’s face.”

Local rock hiding enthusiast Leeann Messick said that the activity is a great outlet for her daughter.

The Messicks found their first rock in Murfreesboro.

“It said be blessed and had a really pretty painting on it,” she said.

Upon turning over the rock, Messick found the message, “Keep or re-hide, #Murfreesboro rock.”

“I was like what is this? My daughter is four, she is special needs, and she went crazy over this rock.”

Looking it up on Facebook, Messick found out how widespread the activity was.

She explained that people post clues to finding their rocks on Facebook and photos of their found rocks. It’s kind of like geocaching with less of a reliance on gadgets.

“You share a picture with the hashtag so people know that you’ve found the rock,” she said over the phone while at a local park hiding a rock.

“It’s a fine hobby for my daughter, and trying to raise awareness for her condition. She has Q237 chromosome microdeletion. We put Coffee County Rocks on the back and the hashtag #raisingawarnessforskialar, so people can read her story.”

“It’s a great way to make someone’s day,” Messick said.

One of the neat aspects of rock paining is that there are few supplies needed, plus the only limit is your imagination.

Cornelison said that rocks purchased from department stores don’t need the surface preparation that rocks dug up might need.

She suggests using a Sharpie marker or acrylic paint with a clear coat to protect the image.

As for what to paint, Messick suggests Pinterest or other crafty social media sights for ideas.

“Even if they’re not artistic, we painted one blue and put ‘peace and love’ and drew a flower.”

“It’s super, super easy and you can find rocks anywhere,” she said.