It’s like an Easter egg hunt. Only it’s for rocks. And the hunt is always on, any day of the year.
Across the country, groups of people, including many here, are doing something different — painting and hiding small rocks for others to find in hopes that finding a rock will brighten someone’s day.
The movement was started by two women – one in Florida and another in Massachusetts — and it didn’t take long before it went viral. Fort Mill resident Karen Berkebile found out about it through social media and decided to start a rock painting group of her own. Her Facebook group, Fort Mill Rocks #fmrocks encourages others to find the rocks, which can be adorned with a kind, meaningful word or short message, or just decorated as the painter chooses, and then let the group know they were found.
Fort Mill Rocks #fmrocks has hidden rocks in places like parks, outside doctors offices, near stores — anywhere there’s foot traffic.
Last summer, folks in Lake Wylie did the same thing after launching the Lake Wylie Rocks group on Facebook.
Berkebile says her aim is to brighten people’s day even if it’s just a little. If she can make someone smile, then she’s done her job, she says.
“It's something fun everyone can do” Berkebile said. “It’s really taken off all over the place, it’s an Easter Egg hunt for everybody.”
And people are finding them.
Dick Edgell,who also lives in the Fort Mill area, learned about painting and hiding rocks from his family in Florida. He did it with them on a visit and saw how much it meant to his 5 year-old granddaughter when she found a rock.
“She loves it, she’s always wanting to find more rocks,” Edgell said. “It’s a fun community type thing, it brings the community together.”
When Edgell returned from that visit to Florida, he looked for a Fort Mill rock group on Facebook and found Berkebile’s group. Aware there were rocks to be found in this area, he looked and spotted a rock in a spot off U.S. 521, near the Cruzin Reubenz restaurant in Indian Land.
Becky Davis, a friend of Berkebile’s visiting from Ohio, says she found a rock outside of the Cracker Barrel in Rock Hill.
“I knew about the rocks or I wouldn't have picked them up,” Davis said.
Berkebile says she wonders if people in this area are finding rocks, but are unaware of their origin.
“There’s lots of people finding them, but maybe not posting,” she said.
People who find painted rocks in the Fort Mill area are encouraged to post a selfie with the rock on either Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #fortmillrocks.
“We’re wanting to grow this and hopefully need a bigger space,” Berkebile said recently while painting rocks with a close circle of friends in her dining room. “I can envision Girl Scouts doing it, youth groups doing it.”