WAXAHACHIE — Though there is no magic map or pirate ship to board, one 12-year-old is taking those brave enough on a painted rock treasure hunt through Waxahachie.
Fueled by the Facebook group “Rocks-a-Hachie,” the object of the quest is simple — paint a rock, hide the rock through clues, and seek it out to either re-hide or take home.
“My favorite part is just to see people smile,” expressed Jules Minyard, the originator of Rocks-a-Hachie Facebook group. “It’s like finding little treasures of joy.”
The rock-crazed treasure hunt is encouraging families and fellow explorers to get outdoors and discover the community through a search for lavishly painted rocks.
“It’s almost like ‘Geocaching,’ except you’re just leaving clues on the Facebook page,” explained Jules' mother, Tammy Minyard, about the tagged rocks.
“After she had painted the rock, she hid it and waited, and some people found it. Well, they got on their phones, and she just giggled. So she’s more of a ‘hider’ than a ‘seeker’ and I think that’s her joy is putting the rocks out there and waiting for people to find them."
What began as a trip to Mansfield with some friends soon became Minyard’s first interaction with the game and her inspiration to start her own version in her hometown.
“I got the idea [for Rocks-a-Hachie] from our friends who invited us to paint rocks and go hide them with them,” Minyard recalled. “So we did, and I loved it so much. So I asked my mom if we could make one here, but first I looked [online] to see if there were any groups and there wasn’t, so I started my own.”
Though membership lacked the first week, Minyard continued to hide her rocks of encouragement, later receiving a surprise message a couple of days later.
“So one day she got a message from a lady who had a go at it with life,” Mrs. Minyard recollected. “And she looked down and found this rock that said ‘Hope’ on it, and she said that it gave her hope and that was meant to be her rock.”
Since then, the group has grown from 70 members in March to 709 participants and hundreds of rocks.
“She has been like every day, ‘Mom, look at how many people are on here!’ And she loves seeing the kids, and she says, ‘That makes me so happy that they’re so happy,’” Mrs. Minyard chuckled.
“And one of the neat things we had found when people started posting their pictures, we were like, “There are so many parks in Waxahachie.” It’s a great way to explore your community, and we just didn’t have any idea it would have this effect."
According to the Waxahachie Parks and Recreation parks listing, there are 18 parks spread across the city, which presents a full-range playing field for all “seekers” and “hiders” to tag a spot.
“We’ve been exploring our community,” Mrs. Minyard confirmed. “Somebody will post something, and we’ll go look for it, and I’m like, ‘Where is that?’ And we find a new place all the time.”
“We were driving to find a rock at a park once,” Jules jumped in. “And we drove past another one because we made a wrong turn and found a rock at a new park. It was fun!”
ROCKING AROUND THE COUNTY
From the MK&T Train Depot to Getzendaner Park, and the Courthouse, this game isn’t only limited to Waxahachie, but stretches across all of Ellis County, including Midlothian.
“I started the group in Midlothian about a year ago, and it’s slowly grown,” explained Kristi Rowley, the Administrator of the Midlothian Rocks Facebook group. “I just thought it would be a lot of fun for families to paint and have something different to do.”
“I know kids who like to go to the park and paint so I just thought it would be fun for our community to have something like that,” she added.
Presently at 809 members, the community, pursuing family time around the town, has embraced the Midlothian Rocks group.
“We’ve seen people post that they’ve found rocks at the park, outside of local businesses, and people have been posting how many rocks they’ve been painting and have hidden them around,” Rowley noted her group’s involvement.
“It’s fun to see a lot of the kids doing this with their families, and I hope more families get out of the house and step away from the TV, and do something fun like this,” she encouraged.
The “Geocaching” themed game is building friendships among treasure hunters everywhere with Rowley and the Minyard’s extending the invitation for everyone to play.
“The ultimate goal for this group is that more people will get involved and have fun,” Mrs. Minyard confirmed. “For whatever reason, it sparked that happiness in Jules, and she wanted to share that. So it’s been fun and a great experience.”
“I hope it brings people joy and that they love it, and I hope they go have fun,” Jules finished with a smile.
To connect with Rocks-a-Hachie Facebook group, search “Rocks-A-Hachie” in the search bar and click “Join." To follow the Midlothian Rocks Facebook group, search “Midlothian Rocks” in the search bar and click “Join.”
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer