Grainger Today Editor
RUTLEDGE – Area residents may have noticed a variety of small, painted rocks cropping up in various places around Grainger County. The little splashes of color are part of a new activity that is quickly gaining popularity – Grainger County – Kindness ROCKS (GCKR).
GCKR began following a Rutledge family’s vacation in Alabama. The Day family traveled to Gulf Shores to attend 10-year-old Blake Day’s baseball team’s games in the World Series tournament. While there, Blake met 9-year-old Grady Patterson from Kinston, Alabama. Grady played as a pickup player on the team.
He asked Blake if people in his home area participated in Kindness Rocks and gave him a rock to hide when he got back home.
According to Blake’s mom, Stephanie Day, Blake was very interested in the idea. She said when they returned home from Alabama they painted about 12 to 15 rocks with colorful designs and encouraging sayings. They hid the rocks in various places as they drove to visit with family in Bean Station. Stephanie started a Facebook page July 16, to post hints about the rocks’ locations in an attempt to get other children involved. As of press time Tuesday, August 15, 442 members had joined.
GCKR is associated with The Kindness Rocks Project, but Stephanie said the original project was geared more towards adults. The original project began as an idea to inspire and encourage others through the promotion of kindness, by placing rocks painted with uplifting and inspiring messages in random places.
Stephanie said local versions, such as GCKR, seem to be doing it with a twist to get younger children involved. She said GCKR attempts to involve children by posting hints about the locations of hidden rocks to the Facebook page, Grainger County – Kindness ROCKS, where parents and guardians may take children to find them.
Participants paint rocks with colorful designs or messages and then place them in areas throughout Grainger County. They then post hints about a rock’s location to the GCKR Facebook page. Some hints about a rock’s location are easy to decipher, while others may take a bit of searching.
Those who hide rocks are asked to post a photo and hint on the Facebook page to let rock seekers know there is treasure to be found. Those who find a rock are asked to post a photo to the Facebook page, letting others know it has been found. Finders may keep rocks or choose to hide them again. Rock painters are asked to write #GCROCKS on the back of each rock in order to help track them.
Anyone who is interested in participating in Grainger County – Kindness Rocks may visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1113786245433106/.