By Stacey Bomser
A family vacation to celebrate their grandfather’s 80th birthday inspired two Weston brothers to paint the town. Brett and Brendan Baldwin discovered a painted rock while in Tampa. It brought a smile to their faces and they thought this simple act of kindness could do the same for others. This past summer, the boys began painting rocks and hiding them around Weston for others to find, spreading happiness and beauty along the way.
Brendan, a fifth grader at Eagle Point Elementary, says he likes seeing the surprise on people’s faces when they discover one of the rocks. “I think it is funny to watch the people and see their reaction. They usually laugh and pick it up and like it, which makes me feel happy.”
Older brother Brett, an eighth grader at Tequesta Trace Middle School, thought it would be a good way to unite the community. “I wanted to bring the community and the world together, one rock at a time.”
The Junior National Honor Society President also saw this as a form of community service. “Junior Honor Society is about helping the community, and I thought the rock hiding might bring the Weston community together, make people happy, and would be a good way to promote our school’s group.”
Although this started as a family project, the boys soon recruited their friends to help. They hosted painting parties and encouraged everyone to express their creativity. Every rock is unique and designs include everything from birds and bugs to the Minions. Each rock is tagged with a note instructing the finder that they can keep the rock or re-hide it for someone else to find.
Although relatively new to Weston, the painted rock phenomenon has gone global. The boys wanted to be able to track how far their goodwill has spread so like most kids their age, they turned to social media. With help from their mom, the Baldwin brothers set up a Facebook page called “Our World Rocks” to track their rocks. Within a matter of weeks, they had nearly 200 members.
Originally, most of the rocks were hidden in Weston, but they are now beginning to travel near and far. Brett and Brendan hid rocks at rest stops and welcome centers, and the at the beach, during a family road trip to Ocean City, Maryland. Family friends have also been playing along, with the Stone family hiding a rock at the Lego store in Disney Springs. So far, rocks have been found around South Florida and as far away as Seattle, Washington, Tucson, Arizona, and Glarus, Switzerland. One of the group’s rocks was found by Crystal Hurst in Summerfield, Florida, near Ocala. She is now a member of “Our World Rocks” and has started her own hometown rock club.
The boys say keep your eyes open when you’re out and about: “See our rocks and pick them up…all day long you will have good luck!”