Windermere resident Molly Rose is spearheading the “#WindermereRocks” project — painting rocks and leaving them around town for others to find.
What started with a single rock — painted with the words “You’ve got this” — on a beach in Cape Cod in 2015 has spread into a nationwide movement.
Megan Murphy, founder of The Kindness Rocks Project, created the national movement, which encourages people to leave rocks painted with inspiring messages along the path of life. The painted rocks have caught on and spread to the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries.
Families in Winter Garden began painting rocks with inspirational phrases, kind words and cute designs in 2017.
Now, the project has made its way to Windermere.
Former town council member and resident Molly Rose first heard about the painted rocks project in San Diego.
“They’ve been doing it there for years, actually, and I thought it was just such a cute idea that I decided I would try to start it here,” Rose said. “I wanted to start a town activity that would just be a fun activity for the families to do.”
The Kindness Rocks Project has become a somewhat viral trend in recent years, and people are encouraged to paint small rocks or garden stones and leave them for others to find and collect. Often, people will share photos of the rocks they’ve found — and hints of where to find them — on Facebook groups and Instagram pages.
“The idea is that it does involve the community and the kids and families,” Rose said. “I thought, ‘Windermere is a great size to do that.’ We kind of know everybody, at least within our own neighborhoods and areas. The idea is that people can paint up a rock and leave it somewhere. If someone else finds it, they can take a picture and put it back, or paint and hide their own rocks. The kids really seem to like it.”
Rose recently painted her first rock with colors of Windermere’s surrounding lakes and wrote, “Windermere Rocks!” on it, along with a smiley face. She placed her rock near a mailbox on dirt Main Street and plans to paint more with instructions on the back. She hopes the idea will spread and that people will start leaving painted rocks for town residents and visitors to find.
“I almost called it ‘Windermere Dirt Main Rocks,’ but it was a small rock, so it was more of a location thing than anything,” Rose said. “I’ve seen some beautiful rocks done in other locations. People should be creative, maybe decorate the rock with something of interest. It isn’t expensive — use any paint you have hanging around, and you can just cover it with a clear coat.”
For those who are lucky enough to find a painted rock, they are encouraged to snap a photo of or with it and post it to social media with the hashtag “#WindermereRocks” so others can see it. Rose hopes that people will get creative with both the rocks they paint and with where they decide to place them for others to find.
“I’m excited to see how creative they can get,” she said. “I’ve seen the rocks where my family is from, and some people put them in trees, in the crux of the tree. It’s just to see if people will be looking around and paying attention to see if they can find the rocks — a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ type of thing.”