Spreading kindness with rocks

. June 30, 2017.
Nicole and her kids get creative with their rock painting
Nicole and her kids get creative with their rock painting

One day this past January, Dexter resident Nicole Barczak was scrolling through Facebook when something caught her attention. A friend from Florida had posted a photo of her girls painting rocks for their local rock group. Barczak was intrigued, and did some research. She and her husband have four children who enjoy crafts and creative activities. She knew they would love painting and hiding rocks, and she figured others would, too, so she started the Facebook group now known as Dexter Rocks.

Dexter Rocks encourages Dexter residents to paint, hide, and find rocks; and also to share pictures of their creations and discoveries on the Facebook page. During a warm spell in February, Barczak and her kids painted and hid their first rocks at Lions Park in downtown Dexter. She invited a few friends to join the Facebook group, and that was the beginning of a fun community activity.

Meaningful messages

Barczak says the group’s mission is to spread kindness and joy. “I started out writing little sayings on the rocks like ‘You’re Special’ and ‘Don’t Quit Your Daydream.’ I thought it would make people feel good to find a positive message,” she says. Another purpose of the group is to get families outside and exploring the beautiful town of Dexter while fostering a sense of community.

So far, Barczak seems to be achieving her goals. “The group has grown from just a handful of people in January to well over 700 members today,” she says. Although her family first hid their rocks in Lions Park, people are now hiding them all over Dexter. She has seen them in downtown Dexter, at Mill Creek Park, and along the Border-to-Border Trail. She even found one at Peace Lutheran Church on Jackson Rd. during her son’s baseball practice.

Dexter resident Nicole Barczak spreads goodwill with Dexter Rocks.

Dexter resident Nicole Barczak spreads goodwill with Dexter Rocks.

Not just for kids

According to Barczak, the most surprising thing about the success of the group is the involvement of local businesses that have used Dexter Rocks for advertising. In April, the owners of Essential Massage Works in Dexter hid rocks that could be exchanged for a free 25-minute massage. The next month, Dexter Creamery advertised its opening by hiding 50 golden rocks redeemable for a free serving of frozen yogurt. Dexter residents were quick to search out the hidden rocks and post pictures of their discoveries.

Sharing the fun

Barczak hopes that the idea of Dexter Rocks will spread to other communities in the area. For those interested in starting their own rock group, she says, “It’s as simple as starting a Facebook group. Create the group and share it with friends. It will spread from there.” There are no rules or regulations for the group; she just wants people to be kind and spread that kindness to others.