Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Rock On: 11-year-old starts rock hunting group with a little help from her community.

A painted rock by Joey White.

While taking a summer stroll in New Cumberland, you may just stumble on one or more prettily painted rocks scattered around town for the passerby to find.

These rocks are more than just decoration, as children in the community have been painting and “rock hunting” all summer long.

Rock hunting has become popular in communities around the nation recently, but “NC Rocks” was the brainchild of 11-year-old Joey White. When visiting her grandparents near Scranton, she was told about “Lake Region Rocks” and wanted to start the activity in her local community.

“I like doing crafts and stuff, so I thought it’d be a cool idea to paint rocks and hide them for people to find,” White said.

In any of the rock hunting groups around the nation, the timeline of events is nearly identical. Rocks are painted and hidden around the community, with a tag for the specific rock group on its back. The hope is that those who find them will post a picture on the Facebook page and re-hide for another person.

The group was started at the end of May, with the “NC Rocks” Facebook page created for White to follow the rocks as they traveled. The page has gained nearly 350 likes, nearly the same number of rocks that Joey and her family have personally painted and distributed around the community.

“We have a little one, and we pile all our painted rocks in the back of her bike, and we just walk down the street and put them out,” said Jen Barrett, Joey’s mother. “It’s fun to kind of watch people find them as we’re walking around.”

While some of the rocks from New Cumberland have traveled as far as Wildwood, N.J., and Assateague Island in Maryland, many of the rocks have simply disappeared completely. White and her family have been painting and hiding more rocks as the amount dwindles, but it has been a challenge to keep up.

“If you find one that you really like, go ahead and keep it, but paint a couple more and put them out out there,” Barrett said. “I think the more people that know about it, they’re playing along.”

In the past few weeks, Michelle Bohrer and her daughters Kayla and Brielle have painted four-dozen rocks and go rock hunting nearly every day. While the newfound activity lets her daughters get creative and spend time away from electronics, Bohrer understands the impact it has on the community.

“Every time I paint a rock, I think of the little kid who finds it, and the look on his face,” Bohrer said. “It’s the cutest thing ever. It kind of brings the town together.”

With support from the community, White and Barrett hope to keep this going in New Cumberland through all seasons. Rock groups also have started in Mechanicsburg, York, Gettysburg and Hanover, to name a few, and can be found on Facebook.

“It’s definitely fun to watch people find them and get the big smile on their face,” said Barrett.

Find out more about NC Rocks on their Facebook page.

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