Have you found an ORock?

If you spot a painted rock somewhere in the Okanagan, check the back — you may have found one of the many "ORocks" that people have been hiding in the hope of spreading smiles and passing on joy. 

It all started when Kat L'Herault moved to the Oliver area from Alberta a few years ago, and found herself with a lot of free time on her hands as she started building her new client list as a caregiver to seniors in their homes. 

"In my spare time, I started painting rocks," she said, inspired by two little girls she spotted painting pebbles at the Gallagher Lake campground. 

For a year, she painted just for her own pleasure and as decorations for her yard, any design that came to mind. She occasionally posted photos on her personal social media, and one day a friend told her about a Facebook page for an Alberta community that hides painted rocks around and shares photos of them. 

"You paint 'em, and you leave 'em, and you spread smiles," L'Herault said. "And I thought, 'Huh, that sounds like fun!'"

So she started her own group called ORocks in August last year and started hiding rocks, watching her little community group grow into the hundreds. Each rock is painted with a Facebook symbol on the back and the name ORocks, so people know how to find the group. 

The idea is to snap a photo and share the location, then re-hide it in some other public location for more people to find and enjoy. That way, the story of each rock is chronicled.

Since August, L'Herault has painted and hidden over 600 rocks, and that's just her personal contribution. She also hosts rock painting parties with local friends and their kids and grandchildren, and says the rocks have been turning up all around the Okanagan. 

She also makes a point of gifting a rock to the members of any touring live music act she goes to see, which is how ORocks have made it out of the province. She knows of one in Florida and one in Nashville, and in Canada, they are slowly spreading east into the prairies and at least one is being re-hidden on Vancouver Island.

"I'm just impressed by how much it's spread!" L'Herault said. 

She uses dollar store acrylic paints with clear enamel paint on top for her rocks, and always tries to write instructions on the back so people share in the Facebook group. 

"They're not all getting posted. A lot of them, they take them home, put it in their garden, and I don't mind that," L'Herault said. "I know on the other end, I'm bringing a smile to someone. And that's the main objective of the whole thing."

Join ORocks here and, as L'Herault says, "Keep on rockin'!"

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