Painted rock movement taking Oldsmar by storm

The Oldsmar Rocks Facebook page has been growing in members ever since Gina Rodgers took over as administrator in late February, 2017. Credit: Facebook/OldsmarRocks

The Oldsmar Rocks craze, where kids and parents paint, hide and find colorful rocks hidden around town, is part of a nationwide movement that began as a way for an Oregon mother to honor the memory of her deceased daughters. Credit: Facebook/OldsmarRocks.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the “MY CITY Rocks” movement, a fun, family-friendly endeavor that has people painting, hiding and finding colorful rocks at parks and other public places in their community.

If you’re not familiar with it, don’t feel bad—the craze, which began as an Oregon mother’s tribute to her deceased young daughters in 2014, has slowly been sweeping the nation, and it was only recently introduced in the Tampa Bay area.

Credit: Facebook/Oldsmar Rocks.

Credit: Facebook/ Oldsmar Rocks.

But the fad, which has the feel of a grassroots version of Pokémon GO!, is quickly gaining speed; for example, the Lakeland Rocks group currently has more than 28,000 members.

Ever since she was made an administrator of the Oldsmar Rocks Facebook page three weeks ago, resident Gina Rodgers has seen the social media site balloon from 26 members to nearly 200, with more people joining in the fun every day.

“It’s growing so fast, ” Rodgers, an executive assistant at a St. Petersburg contracting company who is active in the community, said.

“Every day I get 2-3 new requests. It’s really catching on.”

Gina Rodgers and her husband, Jason Price, at the Oldsmar Centennial Dinner in October 2016.

Gina Rodgers and her husband, Jason Price, at the Oldsmar Centennial Dinner in October 2016.

Rodgers first learned about Oldsmar Rocks while surfing the web, where she found the Facebook page that had been started by Michelle Hy, a New Port Richey resident who works in Oldsmar and also administers the NPR Rocks page.

As soon as Rodgers learned what it was all about, she knew she had to get involved.

“I messaged Michelle on February 20 and said I know people in Oldsmar who would love this, and I offered my help,” she said.

“She was very open to help and added me as an administrator right away, and I’ve been trying to grow it ever since.”

Hy, who said she spends 90 percent of her time in Oldsmar, said she believes the painted rocks movement is taking off due to its simplicity and overall theme of positivity.

“It’s a positive thing,” she said by phone earlier this week. “There’s no negativity in it, and that in itself is amazing.”

Hy said the family element and the outdoors aspect combine to make the activity so enjoyable for so many.

Credit: Facebook/Oldsmar Rocks.

Credit: Facebook/Oldsmar Rocks.

“I find it’s bringing families back together,” she said. “People are painting, hiding and finding these rocks with their families. “Plus it’s getting them outside and exploring their communities. People are finding parks they never knew existed in their town.”

“I think it’s a great movement that’s sweeping the nation. It’s all about spreading love and joy one rock at a time.”

Rodgers said she has no idea how big it will get, but she has no plans to stop promoting the Oldsmar Rocks craze.

“I plan on staying with it no matter how big it gets,” she said, noting she would love to see Oldsmar’s group match Lakeland’s in popularity.

“I enjoy it so much, and it seems like everybody loves it. They love the positivity and the fact that it brings positive vibes to the community.”

“It’s kind of hippie-ish,” she added, stating it reminds her of the Pet Rocks fad from the 1970s.

“It’s like a giant public art project for people of all ages and skill sets.”

To learn more about the Oldsmar Rocks movement, visit the group’s Facebook page.

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