Seeing colorfully painted rocks in a neighboring town has sprouted a similar group in Tabernacle that has brought joy, tears and luck to the spotters.
The ‘Nacle Rocks Facebook group has been creating and hiding rocks throughout the community — and other countries! — since March 2018, and the rocks inspire those who find them.
Rocks created by members in the group are marked, with either a sticker or a painting, stating “post to ‘Nacle Rocks on Facebook if found,” which helps the members track where their rocks are found. Many times, previous painters will see rocks they’ve painted pop up.
“The one story had this little boy in front of a karate place who called it his ‘lucky rock,’ I guess, because he had a competition that he did really well in,” Christina Miller, co-founder of ‘Nacle Rocks, said. “After that competition, his mom said he’s going to hide it again. So he took it with him, and she reposted it again and he won this trophy.”
Pam Hall is the other co-founder of the group.
Miller added a woman who lost her best friend had her spirits lifted when she found a rock that read “life is good.” She added kids are typically the ones who attach the more heartfelt stories to finding the rocks more than anything else.
The group started after Miller was on a bus trip in Voorhees and she spotted a painted rock and inquired on Facebook on what it was and its purpose. She later joined a group for Medford-Medford Lakes and started painting and hiding rocks for them.
“We wanted to do our own group, and we came up with ‘Tabernacle’ something, and when you searched ‘Tabernacle’ a bunch of churches came up, and we wanted people to find the site easily,” she said. “We came up with the name ‘Nacle Rocks.'”
Roughly 1,200 people are part of the online community, and rocks created by group members have been spotted in Tabernacle; Shamong; Medford; Virginia Beach, Va.; Hjerkinn, Norway; Homer, Alaska; and Quebec, Canada.
Many times, Miller added, she and other members will see rocks and take them on vacations to place in other countries or states to help “spread positivity.”
Miller estimates she painted more than 2,000 rocks, but hasn’t kept track of it because she paints whenever she has downtime at work or is sitting on her couch watching TV. Other members, she said, will do more intricate designs on the rocks, such as a 70s-inspired rock, a daisy and an “I love pretzels” rock, which Miller said has been posted/found the most on the group.
“In the beginning, a lot of people didn’t want to re-hide them, they wanted to keep them, which is OK,” Janice Curry, founding member, said. “When they find more and more, they would re-hide them because they know that they would get more. They don’t want to give them up in the beginning.”
As the group explodes in popularity, Miller said she tries to hold painting sessions at the Medford Arts Center and tasks her family members with rock painting.
“My dad paints all of these intricate rocks, such as one that has sunflowers on it, and he did two-sided ones, and you can’t put stickers on them! So I kept them,” Miller said. “There’s quite a few ladies who are very artistic and you need to have a steady hand and everything and I can’t do that.”
When leaving rocks around town, it’s important to be mindful of the location. For Miller, she was asked to cease placing rocks at an elementary school because kids began to fight over the found rocks. Another time, she was asked to stop placing rocks at an unnamed location because someone was afraid of the kids throwing them at each other.
Miller said she hopes to see the group continue to grow in members and to have more people join in on the painting and hiding of the rocks.
“It’s a great family activity to do with your kids because not only do they just enjoy it, they enjoy putting them out there and they also get excited when they’re found and someone posts them,” Miller said.