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McChord Rocks

Creative outlet for families is new on base

Rocks painted by Kelly Wivell and her daughter Madison. Photo credit: Kelly Wivell

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A painted-rock movement is sweeping the country. There is Boston Rocks, Northeast Ohio Rocks and Kindness Rocks. Locally, there is Puyallup Rocks, Tacoma Rocks and now thanks to McChord's Kelly Wivell, there is McChord Rocks.  

"Painting rocks is nothing new, really," Wivell said.  "It is a popular pastime all over the United States.  It is a family affair.  Kids love to paint, hide and find the rocks, but so do adults.  Even my husband, who does not paint the rocks, likes to find them with our daughter. I started McChord Rocks because my daughter and I were driving all over looking for rocks and hiding them.  We thought, hey let's start one here that is close.  She loves painting and hiding, as much as I do."

Wivell started a Facebook group for McChord Rocks and it has almost 150 members.  Members paint and hide rocks on McChord. The back of each rock has a note asking, if found, to post on McChord Rocks.  Members can track and see when their rocks are found.  They can also post pictures and hints of rocks they are hiding. Wivell and daughter Madison, age 11, have painted and hidden over 50 rocks.  "There isn't a requirement of how many are hidden. Some of mine are very time consuming and intricate and others are just simple and fun. Sometimes you find a rock that a kid just painted all pink, and other times an adult painted a masterpiece! It's the hunt that is the most fun! I also love making my rocks beautiful," she said.

Wivell prefers when someone goes on a rock hunt that they keep one or two and hide the rest again for others to find.  "I am sure people have found rocks and thought ‘what the heck is this' and just kept it. But on the back of the rocks we put McChord Rocks and to post on Facebook.  All members are encouraged to paint and hide; not just seek and keep. I also encourage families to get out and exercise, and spend time with them while they look for rocks," she said.

The group is open to families who live on McChord Field or work there. Ask to join the Facebook Page, McChord Rocks.  Paint rocks and hide them on McChord Field in places they can be found. Wivell said, "We try and keep them where people will see them. Most are hid in the parks, schools, and housing area. I also hid a bunch at Heritage Park, but I have a feeling they were removed by other people. My daughter and I hid a bunch on the trails in the woods but realized people don't go back there like we do.  They needed to be easier to find so we went back and hid them again. We as painters like to see that our rocks are found and if they are kept or hidden again."

Keep your eyes alert next time you are at McChord, you never know what you may find.

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