Art Club created their own 901 Rocks and then hid them not only around our school, but also around their neighborhoods with their families. This is a great way for students to spread some cheer, while also creating a unique piece of art. Students learn about passing it forward, and about sharing an experience. I am proud to be part of such a great movement of friendship and love to "plant joy" Thank you Bruce Elem. for starting 901 Rocks.
There is a 901 Rocks Tipton County Facebook page also.
History of 901 Rocks
In the middle of July, five people agreed on a Next Door page to start painting and hiding rocks around town. Fast-forward six weeks: There are almost 10,000 members on the 901 Rocks! Facebook group, and untold thousands of rocks and pebbles have been painted, "planted" and found. Organizers of the group are encouraging their band of rockers to hide 10 rocks each for their Rock It! Launch on Thursday, which coincidentally is 901 Day.
"We were just thinking about it being the kickoff to the long weekend and that 9-1 is nine plus one, which equals 10, so we wanted everyone to hide 10 rocks and let everyone look for them over the holiday weekend," said co-founder Lisa Dawson.
It was July 15 when Dawson posted on Next Door, seeing if anyone would be interested in joining her and her kids on rock hunts.
"It started as way to get my kids involved in something other than their tablets, the TV, 'Minecraft,'" she said.
Amy McSpadden is an art teacher who was working as a camp counselor at Golf & Games Family Park. ("Putt-Putt," she said. "That's still what everyone calls it.") She saw the post that Friday night.
"I started painting rocks that Saturday to see if I could do them with the paint pens, which I knew would be a lot easier at camp," she said. "On Sunday I got in the car, drove around and planted a rock. I had been bitten by the bug. Then by Monday at camp, we were painting them and hiding them around the golf course, the go-kart line, waiting to see if people would find them."
Meanwhile, Dawson started the Facebook page, and finding rocks became something of a scavenger hunt as folks started leaving clues to where they hide their rocks — or "plant joy," as McSpadden says.
She teaches art at Bruce Elementary and explains the rock phenomenon to her kids like this:
"We are cultivating kindness by putting something special out there," McSpadden says. "How does it make you feel when you find something nice you don't expect? Joyful?"
So because they "plant joy" when they hide rocks, they also call themselves "art farmers."
And that seems reasonable, as good things are growing from this. People have taken the 901 Rocks! platform and made it their own.
"There's a family on Facebook that painted a rock with the word "family," posted a picture and said that when someone found it and posted a picture, they would make a donation of $100 to St. Jude," McSpadden said.
And while the project started for Dawson to have something to do with her kids, it morphed into adults driving all over town to find rocks, then trended toward families hunting together again.
"The fact is, like I was telling my dad, this has so outgrown Amy and Lisa," McSpadden said. "This is Memphis."
"It has just completely exploded," she said. "And what we like to see is the reaction of people, which is what makes the Facebook page so special. I get the biggest joy from seeing the faces of kids with their 901 Rocks."
To participate, go to the 901 Rocks! page on Facebook and join. Because Dawson and McSpadden have to approve each request, be patient. Then start following clues and stock up on rocks and paint or paint pens to create your own rocks. Be sure to tag each rock with #901 Rocks! so that folks know your rock is part of the movement. As for the stones, members tend to buy large bags at Home Depot or smaller ones at Dollar Tree, because found rocks are generally rougher and harder to paint.
After you paint, go plant your joy. There are no real rules, but the proper etiquette is to hide one when you find one, either the same rock or another one.
"We keep a big pile of rocks on the dining room table," Dawson said. "Sometimes it takes about five minutes to paint one, and I did a yellow submarine that took about 45 minutes. We just sit down there when we have a few minutes, and every time we go somewhere, we take a handful with us and plant them."
About Jennifer BiggsJennifer Biggs is the food writer and dining critic for The Commercial Appeal. She writes a weekly column, food features and restaurant reviews.