When Debbie Chapman introduced a Facebook rock painting, hiding and hunting group to inspire community engagement, creativity, and family interaction for the Town of Williamston on July 7, she was unaware that there were two other groups already doing this in town and that she had named her group similar to one already in place. She quickly reached out to her group with a contest to re-name the group. Thus, Mineral Spring Rocks-Williamston, SC was born. The two other groups that were already in place
are The Stones Cry Out and Williamston SC Rocks. All three of the groups have formed a bond and are heavily interactive with each other. “We realize that the community is made up of many people and that each Group Administrator and member have different friend bases, and their friends have many friends. This is why we feel that the need to network is very important,” Chapman said. “We share ideas, stories, prize bases, knowledge and information and are always willing to lend each other or the community a hand. As an example: the Mineral Spring Rocks group needed some rocks to give to shut-ins and The Stones Cry Out group provided them. The Williamston SC Rocks Group is great about watching all three groups and sharing pictures of rock finds among the three. Working a team allows great success. The growth of over 1000 members for The Mineral Spring Rocks group in a week astonished me,” Chapman said.
Between the three groups there are approximately 1850 members and growing. “Other neighboring towns have begun to join us as well as in other cities who like what we are doing..I’ve shared local business rocks in Clinton, Greenwood and Belton in hopes that folks there will visit us and they in return are welcome to share theirs here. This will help all of us in keeping folks interested in the Upstate,” Chapman said.
“For me, this fun began when I found a tiny rock that had a slice of pizza drawn on it, near a Publix store in Goose Creek, SC, and as soon as I figured out what it was, I knew it would be a way for us to spread joy and the love of Jesus in our community,” April Duncan said. “And while I’m painting rocks, it makes me happy knowing that it’s going to put a smile on someone’s face. As long as we keep Jesus as our rock, we can never fail,” James Duncan said. Chuck Gates added that this helps to bring the community together and is like a ministry to others. This rock hunting is a large movement involving thousands of people in the area and an ongoing hunt for rocks. The idea of it and the rules are about as simple as they sound. Participants buy or find landscaping rocks, paint them with custom designs, label the back of the rocks with the specific wording as spelled out in rules of the group that the painter is a member of, and hide them about town or in other areas. They share photos and clues on Facebook on the group page that they are a member of and the “hunt“ is on. Once a rock is found, a picture of the front and back of the rock is posted in either group on Facebook so that the rocks can be tracked. Posting in either group is fine because the admin’s make sure that their rocks are posted on the right page. “We look out for each other, said Chapman. That’s what community building consists of…Everyone sharing and working together toward a common goal.”
The Mineral Spring Rocks group, hosted by Debbie Chapman (Town of Williamston), The Stones Cry Out group, hosted by Chuck Gates, and the Williamston SC Rocks group, hosted by April and James Duncan invite anyone who wishes to become involved in the community, meet new friends, neighbors, etc. while having fun interacting with each other, to join one of the groups.
If you don’t have Facebook and find a rock, please take it to someone who does and let them post it for you. The wish of these groups is for everyone to feel a part and to be included. Everyone is asked to be respectful of artwork created by others and not paint over anyone’s rocks if found. Members are also asked to keep the project family oriented. We realize that there is a great potential for continued growth and we hope that local businesses will get involved. An idea of that would be for a business to have a bucket of rocks that a customer could take one to paint and hide. The business could already have their business info on the back of the rock as an identifier. Or people that don’t want to hide rocks but only want to paint them could drop off rocks at a business for customers to pick up and hide. We could designate those Rock Friendly Businesses with a sticker for their door.
Another idea to get your business name out there is to sponsor a weekly prize for a prize rock that one of our groups will be hiding each week. We will be able to assist with coordinating that for anyone interested. We are also working with local artists on scheduling rock painting sessions and some other fun events and we want everyone to know that it isn’t about being talented enough to participate….It’s something fun and rewarding to do. So gather up your supplies, paint some rocks, spend time with your kids/family and make new friends.