TORRINGTON – For four years, families have participated in a “Torrington Hidden Rock” Facebook group that invites them to paint rocks and hide them for others to find.
Amanda Cherrington, who participates with her 15 year old daughter, Aubrey, said she’s noticed that participation in the group had dwindled. That is, until Lincoln Infant Toddler Center, part of Wyoming Child and Family Development, joined the game and added a competitive element. Those who find their rocks designated by the center’s phone number on the back are entered to win a drink gift certificate, according to Tonya Nedder, Lincoln Head Start Center Coordinator. There are approximately 40 hidden throughout town.
Rocks hidden by the center are decorated with hedgehogs, turtles, elephants, American flags and more, but the ultimate find is the t-rex. Voted staff’s favorite rock, whoever finds the bright green dinosaur wins a $25 gift card.
“The kids that have called or their families that have called have been excited,” Nedder said. “They’re like, ‘can we keep the rock or can we re-hide the rock?’ and so we’ve had a couple that have kept them because they really liked them. But we’ve had the rest of them like, ‘oh no, this will be great for us to go tonight and hide it somewhere in town.’”
The rock hunt not only allows families to participate in a socially-distanced activity amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, but it also promotes Wyoming Child and Family Development.
“With covid, it’s been hard to do any of our PR events and things that we normally do in the center to recruit new families into our program,” Nedder said.
Cherrington said Aubrey has found three rocks in her travels to and from the swimming pool, meaning she’s been entered into the drawing three times before hiding them again for another lucky rock hunter to find.
“It gives her something to do other than just swimming for the summer,” Cherrington said. “We’ve been doing it for quite a while, looking at the parks and stuff like that when we go.”
Some participants posting photos of their children with rocks in the Torrington Hidden Rock Facebook group expressed confusion about the phone numbers on the backs of certain rocks, but Cherrington assured them they were hidden by Wyoming Child and Family Development.
“Them doing the drawing is a really good way to get the community involved again,” Cherrington said.