A painted rock made by Ruth Wierenga. Photo: Aaron Hemens

A painted rock made by Ruth Wierenga. Photo: Aaron Hemens

Painting and Sharing: The Story behind Creston Rockz

“The main thing is to encourage people and make them smile, and feel good about two things: making rocks and finding them”

If you’re ever walking around Creston and stumble upon a rock or two that’s painted with vibrant images or inspiring messages, there’s a good chance that those rocks belong to a family of hundreds of other decorated stones that have been hidden around town.

Rocks featuring colourful patterns, googly eyes, or images related to the season are found every day in every corner of Creston, and they’re all products of the Creston Rockz initiative.

The idea is to decorate a rock and hide it somewhere in town for someone to find. Whoever finds the rock can either keep it or hide it someplace else.

“The main thing is to encourage people and make them smile, and feel good about two things: making them and finding them. It just adds a positiveness to life,” said Ruth Wierenga, the founder of Creston Rockz.

While this idea of painting and sharing rocks is not exclusive to the Creston community, it was in July 2019 when Wierenga said she introduced it to town.

“I was visiting my daughter, who lives in Ponoka, Alta. She and her children were doing this because someone there had started it earlier that year,” said Wierenga. “We went out with the kids. First, we painted some of these rocks, then we took them around town, dropped some and also found some.”

Upon her return to town, Wierenga created a Facebook group called Creston Rockz, which now has over 500 members.

“In a year, it’s done pretty good,” she said.

Members in the group are encouraged to share images of their painted rocks or photos of rocks that they have found and have rehidden.

“I suspect that I probably put at least 200 rocks out in the town, where 20 of them have been found and shared on the Facebook page. But it’s not a big deal; it’s nice to see who finds them,” said Wierenga.

One dedicated member, she said, has painted over 300 rocks to be shared around town.

“I want to be encouraging to people. I remember one girl posted one of my rocks and she said it really made her day, that she needed it,” said Wierenga. “That’s very encouraging, and there are lots that may feel encouraged. You might not hear, but they keep it.”

Her advice for any community member who is looking to get involved is to pick up some rocks from Goat River, buy paint from the dollar store and get creative.

She added that all residents are welcome to participate in the fun, whether they’re painting rocks, hiding them or keeping them.

“You don’t have to be artistic. Just enjoy it. Too much of our society focuses on doing things you’re really good at, instead of doing things you really enjoy,” she said. “Who cares if you’re the best. It’s not a competition, it’s just enjoyment.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: aaron.hemens@crestonvalleyadvance.ca


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