Vicki and Kevin Edwards
Building Relationships One Rock At A Time
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.”
story by Katrice Williams photos by Tonya Perry
Vicki Edwards has long appreciated the difference that a happy, healthy community can make. For some time now, she has strived to bring her community together through “friendship and fun.” In fact, her warmth, creativity and love for community is exemplified by the efforts and initiatives that she implores through her local business, Effingham Rocks, a rock group that she started over a year ago.
Vicki states, “It’s all about bringing the community together—to build relationships one rock at a time.”
Actually, Vicki has been in Effingham for about two years after moving from her hometown, North Augusta, South Carolina. Vicki and her husband, Kevin, have four adult children and one little grandbaby on the way. Though Kevin admits that Effingham Rocks is Vicki’s “baby” he has played a tremendously instrumental role since its inception. Vicki’s inspiration for her rock group, the first in Effingham, actually came from her hometown, as she was a member of a local group there. Hence, she was able to experience all the fun and benefits firsthand.
What’s more, the rock “painting…hiding…finding” phenomenon has become an enormously popular pastime, as it is “going on all across the U.S. and some other countries.” Vicki and Kevin are confident that the group is fun for all ages, adults and children alike.
Kevin remarks, “Individuals can range from a two-year-old that just paints colors on a rock to the best of artists that have put a lot of detail into it.”
Some people regard the idea as the most massive and ongoing Easter egg hunt of all time, only painting and hiding rocks instead of eggs. Individuals are able to register to join the group via Effingham Rocks’ Facebook page. Members can purchase rocks from various venues; Lowe’s is often a popular choice. Afterwards, they have the opportunity to paint their rocks as they please and at their leisure. “Acrylic paints and paint pens work best;” using a paint sealer is recommended, so that the rocks are not affected by normal weathering. n
Everyone is an artist, so there is no skillset that is too minimal. Then, they can cleverly hide them outdoors, nearly anywhere and everywhere. Popular hiding places are parks, churches, historical landmarks and businesses. Some have been found at Walmart, Kroger, dental offices, in the Lowe’s garden center and at the YMCA. Indoor hiding is not usually encouraged, except with the approval of the venue’s management.
Vicki says, “You can just stumble across them all over the community.”
Also, members are encouraged to “hide and seek” in safe areas; this discourages activity in very high places, brushes (unseen reptiles may be present), places that may not be easily assessible or those that may be physically challenging. Participants may choose to leave helpful hints for seekers on the Effingham Rocks’ Facebook page. Further, those who find and take a rock are expected to hide another painted one to make up for the one they acquire. This allows the amount of rocks to remain plentiful for members so that the cycle can go on.
Vicki comments, “That’s the whole cycle of it…paint, hide, find, repeat.” Participants “may opt to keep what they have found, leave it or relocate it somewhere else.” Vicki and Kevin ask that members place the group name with the Facebook symbol on the back of their rocks. They, too, ask that individuals take pictures of their rocks and post them on the group page to share with others.
Kevin says, “You might see one sitting on a lamp post at the grocery store; you just pick it up and take your picture. You can keep it or re-hide it.”
Individuals are not limited to hiding rocks in Effingham but can take them on most any excursion. The couple has been astonished to look on the Facebook page and see the Effingham Rocks symbol on various rocks that have been taken to different places, whether to other states or countries like Germany.
“It’s really neat to see where some of these rocks go,” Kevin stated.
Vicki definitely wants it to be tons of pure fun for the entire family and “takes a Christian approach” to handling their business. That said, there is no tolerance for “negative talk on the website.” Advertising is also not permitted. For safety reasons, a brief questionnaire must be completed by prospective members, which allows Vicki and Kevin to better understand individual motivations for joining, noting any “questionable people.”
“We are listed as a closed group; that’s just strictly to keep our families and friends safe.
This is family-oriented. This is straight-up fun for the family,” Vicki insists.
Vicki and Kevin certainly get in on the action, too. They enjoy painting their own creative pictures on each rock. Vicki feels that Kevin is “very artistic” and much more of an artist than he knows, as he shows a rock adorned with a beautiful waterfall that he painted.
“We hide rocks; we find rocks, just like everybody else. We actually bump into other people outside doing it, and it’s so much fun. This is a big thing. We love it. The parents and kids—they love it,” Vicki said.
Vicki likes seeing that kind of happiness coming from all around the community, parents and kids alike. She is proud to contribute to that joy. She loves when parents post a picture of their kids on the Facebook page smiling from ear-to-ear holding a rock. Vicki even recalls being messaged by a lady that told her of how the rock that she found, with a special picture on it, really “made her day.” She also mentions a member taking one with her to a nursing home to share with a patient.
Vicki adds, “It’s making a difference in the community…that’s really big with me.”
Through Effingham Rocks, Vicki and Kevin also support various local, noteworthy charities and fundraisers. They were recently asked to paint some rocks for some of their group members to take to the veteran’s hospital in Augusta, Georgia.
“We love to see them travel,” Vicki stated.
Vicki welcomes the support of local businesses, as everyone can play a part. One of her biggest goals is to see the group grow and see participation from neighboring counties. She is also looking forward to the group’s next big “rock swap,” which is basically one big, centralized rock jamboree for members of her group. Parents and kids are able to come together to paint rocks and do some hiding and finding outside on a nice day. Various tables with rocks, paints and supplies are provided free of charge at the events for adults and kids to paint as they like. They also ask for others to bring their own special painted rocks to trade at the event with other rock painters, if they wish. Great snacks are provided as well. Yes, there is food…folks….and fun. Vicki aspires to have one or two each year. New Providence Baptist Church, where Vick works, kindly provided the location for the last rock swap, and it was a great success.
In her spare time, Vicki loves to spend time with her pets. She has four dogs and is anxiously awaiting some chickens. Kevin jokes and says that she is about to have a little “micro-farm,” as she already has a garden, fish pond and coop for her new chickens. Vicki, too, loves to do antique and vintage furniture shopping; she really likes painting the furniture she attains.
On the other hand, Kevin has participated in tournament fishing, specifically kayak tournaments, for some time now. At times, when he fishes at his leisure, Vicki gets out on the water with him. The couple loves spending time together and with family.
Vicki does aspire to paint the world kind one rock at a time and is definitely doing just that with Effingham Rocks. Alongside her husband Kevin, she persists to make the difference that is needed in the world, one community at a time. In her own words, “It’s about fun, family and friendship.”