WOODSBORO – Before the Internet and smartphones, a favorite pastime was to collect rocks. 

Just rocks of different colors, shapes and sizes, for skipping on a pond or just plain slinging.

Now, Woodsboro residents are collecting rocks again, but they have taken a different approach. 

On a trip to visit her son, Andrew McCleskey, at Whidbey Island, Washington, Woodsboro resident Kathy Doell was introduced to a new hobby.

She discovered the Facebook page Whidbey Island Rocks, in which members would paint rocks, hide them, then post a clue to the page so others could go find them. 

When members would find the painted rocks, they could keep them or re-hide them for someone else. Thus, Woodsboro Rocks was born.

“I helped my mom get started by creating a Facebook page called ‘Woodsboro Rocks’ in 2017, and a small group in its inauguration started to really take off in numbers when Hurricane Harvey landed,” McClesky said. “Then, painting rocks was the last thing on peoples minds.” 

“Now the group has grown at a fast rate and families are actually going out on rock hunts, having rock-painting time and some are even having rock painting parties,” Doell said.

McClesky is the administrator of the Woodsboro Rocks Facebook page. When the page gains 100 new members, he paints a special rock to mark the occasion. He just got done painting his “400 members” rock. 

“It’s getting more difficult to hide these ... people want the commemorative rock and follow me to see where I’m hiding it,” McCleskey said. “The group is steadily growing so I’m already making a 500th rock.”

The Woodsboro Rocks page is a nonprofit (no advertising, no selling) organization in which the young and young at heart can participate.

The possibilities of art are endless, as well as the strategic placing of rocks. There have been rocks painted in memory of loved ones, rocks bearing favorite characters and sayings, and of course, rocks representing the Mighty Eagles. 

“One thing you can say for sure is that it’s bringing families and the community closer together - there’s rock-hard evidence,” said Doell.