In the search for happiness, leave no stone unturned, or leave no rock unpainted.
A new group, Kenai Rocks, wants to cure the boredom of the everyday in Kenai by hiding painted rocks throughout town in hopes of bringing an unexpected smile to someone’s face.
“We’re trying to bring a little bit of fun into the community, let people get their creativity out there,” said Emily Kaiser, who started the Kenai Rocks group with her sister, Sarah Kaiser.
“We started the (Facebook) page just a few days ago and we’ve got over 200 members already,” Kaiser said.
A cupcake near the library, a smiling face in the McDonald’s parking lot or a mandala in the park: the painted stones are turning up all over town.
“It’s really exciting and taking off, just within the last few days. People are starting to find rocks and will post it in our Facebook group. They either hide it again or keep it, if they like it,” Kaiser said.
The group encourages those who find a hidden painted rock to post a photo in their Facebook group. The hidden rocks are also labeled with “Kenai Rocks on FB! Find! Post! Keep me or rehide me!”
Each rock is hand painted by someone in the community and weatherproofed.
“We paint whatever comes to mind,” Kaiser said. “It doesn’t have to be anything special, just family-friendly.”
Kaiser and her sister found inspiration from a group in Kodiak, but painted rocks have been turning up across North America with similar groups in nearly every state, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico according to The Kindness Rocks Project, a group that claims to be the first to start hiding the rocks in hopes to “spread inspiration and motivation for unsuspecting recipients.”
“I found my first rock by my mailbox at my apartment,” said Desiree Deleon of Kenai. “I was kind of having a rough time … tangled up in the daily life of being a mom and having a job. I went to check my mail and there was this painted rock.”
Deleon found a rock with the phrase “adventure is out there,” which resonated with her that morning.
“It came at a good time and it just put a smile on my face, brightened my mood,” Deleon said. “I’m also an artist, so it made me think that I could be doing that too. I could be spreading random acts of kindness.”
Since finding that first rock, Deleon said she has painted and hidden several rocks throughout Kenai with inspirational quotes and Alaska related scene-scapes painted onto them.
“I go rock hunting every summer on the beach and this will put a different twist on rock hunting,” Deleon said.
Participating in Kenai Rocks is as easy as taking a walk on the beach or through the park. Anyone is invited to paint a rock and hide it, or to find a rock, post their find on the group’s Facebook page and then hide it again in a new place.
Kaiser said that any rock is a good rock for painting.
“We go down to the beach or just any place with gravel. Go anywhere you can find a random ugly rock and make them pretty,” Kaiser said.
Reach Kat Sorensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.