The concept is simple. Paint a rock, and hide it somewhere in the Pikes Peak region for someone else to find.
The purpose behind 719 Rocks is also simple, says creator Jennifer Tews: “It’s about putting random acts of kindness out there.”
Patterned after 901Rocks—a project in Memphis, Tennessee, that Tews learned about when visiting family—719 Rocks has been slowly growing a following since its inception as a Facebook group in fall 2016. “It took a while for it to catch on. It was me painting rocks and watching football,” Tews says with a laugh. “We got really excited when we hit 500 members.”
By the end of June 2017, her Facebook group hit 2,000 members, and between word-of-mouth, parents seeking summer activities for their kids, and daily rock discoveries across the city, it exploded over the next two and a half months to a current following of nearly 43,000 members.
You don’t have to be a Facebook group member to paint, hide or find rocks—though at the top of the 719 Rocks! group page, you’ll find more information about the group’s purpose, help regarding materials, and some tips and tricks. You also don’t need to be a talented painter. “I personally have no creative talents,” Tews says. “There are some people that have amazing talents, so don’t be intimidated by what you see posted.”
You can be 3 or 33 or 93 to participate. You can post photos of the rocks you find on social media with the hashtag #719Rocks (or not). You can get involved in weekly challenges or attend monthly gatherings to paint rocks (or not.) You can keep the rocks (or rehide). The most important thing, Tews says, is to have fun and know you are making a difference.
“It’s brought a lot of families together,” she says. “A lot of people have shared with me they have teenagers who never wanted to do family time, and now they’re painting. People have shared their kids weren’t on electronics because they were painting, or wanting to go for hikes to look for rocks.
“It’s also helped a lot of people who say they have depression or anxiety,” Tews says. “It’s very therapeutic to paint rocks.”
Join the 719 Rocks Facebook group.
Or check out the less active public Facebook page.
PPLD Golden Rocks
While 719 Rocks is the main local group promoting this campaign, others have jumped on the bandwagon. Pikes Peak Library District announced a PPLD Rocks competition as part of its Outside the Lines program, a celebration of creativity, technology and discovery. Staff members have hidden PPLD rocks all around region parks; find their special Golden Rocks before Sept. 23, and you can win a prize. Details and clues for finding the hidden rocks at ppld.org/otl.