Jesica Franklin has struggled to find ways to get her son, Rrigden Franklin, 5, but with the help of more than 1,000 Carthaginians and Facebook, she seems to have hit on a good one this summer.

Jesica Franklin has struggled to find ways to get her son, Rrigden Franklin, 5, but with the help of more than 1,000 Carthaginians and Facebook, she seems to have hit on a good one this summer.
The concept has caught fire — Franklin posted the Carthage Mo Rocks page to Facebook on May 18 and 17 days later it had more than 1,200 members and more than 250 pictures of people holding the rocks they've painted and hid, or rocks they and their children have found while getting out in the sun and walking around Carthage's parks and public spaces.
“I really didn't think it would take off like it has,” Jesica Franklin said. “By the second day we were over 500 members and it's been going crazy. There are some people who don't even have kids who are out there painting rocks and hiding them. It's like a big community thing now.”
Mary Nicholas and her daughter, Emma Nicholas, have enjoyed getting out on their bikes, riding to Central Park, the Dale Memorial Garden at the Carthage Public Library, or any of a number of other places to hunt for rocks or hide rocks they've painted.
On Sunday, Mary Nicholas posted to the page that she was headed to Central Park to hide 50 more painted rocks.
“I have a hard time trying to find the motivation to get out and get exercise,” Mary Nicholas said. “Several of the hiding locations are within walking and biking distance. It's like an Easter egg hunt for local art, which makes it really fun. We have been on our bikes for three nights in a row now and feel great.”

For Rrigden
Jesica Franklin said she started the Facebook page Carthage Mo Rocks after her son had fun hunting rocks placed in a park by members of a similar page in Joplin.
She said Rrigden, 5, has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and is preparing to go through tests to find out exactly where on that spectrum he is.
Jesica says one of his issues is he hates to leave his house, and he really hates to leave Carthage.
He also doesn't like to get things on his hands, and has to clean them constantly.
Jesica said this activity has really helped him to open up to the world in ways he hadn't before.
“He loves it and he's actually been painting his own rocks,”Jesica Franklin said. “He's probably painted about 15 rocks all by himself. They're not spectacular, but for him, that's awesome. He has texture issues with stuff getting on his hands and stuff, but he's still in there painting and he's super excited. He loves seeing the pictures on facebook when kids find his rocks. It's amazing, he's actually opened up a lot more since we've been doing this.”

The concept
The concept is simple, decorate small rocks with acrylic paint, paint anything you want on them, then hide them like you would an Easter Egg in a public park or another place where everyone can find them.
Jesica's post when she started the page explains her concept.
“Paint rocks, hide rocks, and find rocks,” she wrote. “Local parks or other public places make perfect hiding spots!! Or hide them somewhere else and see how far your art can travel. Make sure when painting rocks to put the Facebook symbol and Carthage MO Rocks, that way people know where to share their findings. Most people are using acrylic paint and an acrylic sealer, but there is other options. Have fun and happy hunting!!!”
In addition to the Joplin Area Rocks group and Carthage Mo Rocks, there are groups for Webb City and Sarcoxie in Jasper County.
There are hundreds of similar Facebook pages across the country and even around the world.
In a post on Facebook on Sunday, Carol Arêas, who lives in San Deigo, Calif., said she created what she called the “World Rocks Project” six years ago.
She invited everyone to participate in International Drop a Rock Day on July 3.
In an email to The Carthage Press, Aréas said her son, Antonio, came up with the idea of the Word Rocks Project.
“What was supposed to be a mom-son activity became a world-wide scavenger hunt to promote kindness,” Aréas told The Press.
“I had no idea that it would become a worldwide scavenger hunt!” Arêas said in her Facebook post. “I love to see all the love coming from all of you! Last year was beautiful and 2017 will be even more with so many new rock groups. So far we reunited more than 200 groups to celebrate all together! People all around the world will place a rock with the same word.”
There's also a website, with instructions on how to prepare and paint rocks and what to do with them.

Danger in the grass
While the idea is to spread kindness, leaving rocks in the grass in public spaces can be a hazard.
Brandon Franklin, Jesica Franklin's husband, made sure to instruct their son not to hide rocks in the grass, and to put them in trees or on benches or somewhere lawn mowers won't go.
Carthage Parks Director Alan Bull said he saw his first painted rock on Monday in the root of a tree in Central Park.
“It was fine where it is, but if my guys find them in the grass, they've got to go,” Bull said. “They may thrown them away or whatever, I'm not telling them what to do with them, but they're a hazard if they're in the grass.”
Bull said the danger is when a crew mows the park, that the rock could be thrown hundreds of feet at high velocity and could hit someone or cause damage to a vehicle or building.
A post on the Carthage Mo Rocks Facebook page said maintenance workers at the Jasper County Courthouse were running into that problem as they mowed the lawn.
Bull said he doesn't mind seeing all the rocks, just don't hide them where they can become a missile and possibly hurt someone.