A new craze is sweeping Cowley County and South Central Kansas Medical Center is jumping on the bandwagon.

#620rocks garden at SCKMC

Courtesy photo

Judy Day-Trenary places the first painted rocks in the South Central Kansas Medical Center chapel rock garden. She is a member of the SCKMC Auxiliary and #620rocks rock painting group on Facebook.

#620rocks is a local Facebook group dedicated to spreading joy through one of the planet’s most common items — rocks.

Many might have noticed the brightly colored rocks sitting around Arkansas City — some with painted pictures, others with inspirational words, but all designed to make people’s days better.

“Our goal is to make random acts of kindness by ‘hiding’ the rocks in unexpected places to brighten the finder’s day,” said Cheryl Boyce, the group’s administrator.

Administrators at SCKMC noticed the tiny works of art appearing around the hospital campus and reached out to the group to try to harness its creativity for something even larger. The group has begun leaving the stones outside the window of the hospital’s chapel.

“First and foremost, our group exists solely to inspire creativity and kindness,” Boyce said. “When we hide them, we are sharing our heart, even in a small way, to reach out to someone else.”

The hospital staff is embracing the idea and assisting to direct the rock artists to the chapel “rock garden,” located on the northwest side of the medical center. “It’s a silly idea, but it’s a wonderful idea,” said Valerie Reed, a member of the hospital’s business services team.

“If you are in that room, you need quiet time, you need reflection on life, and you’re pretty down. If you look outside and you see maybe a rock with a scripture on it, it may not be towards that person, but you are going to feel like that it was meant for you. It is going to make that person feel a lot better. Or they may see something painted that might remind them of a good time with the family member. I think it will be great.”

Judy Day-Trenary is a member of the SCKMC Auxiliary who volunteers her time at the hospital. She also is a member of #620rocks group, having painted and hid approximately 50 rocks within the community. Day-Trenary’s involvement with both groups is what helped to bring the hospital’s rock garden idea to fruition.

“The idea is to place them where people can find them and might bring a little bit of joy. I think if people know that (the garden) is back there, they will leave rocks and possibly pick up one and bring it in to a patient or someone at the hospital,” she said.

“I can see, when there are a lot of rocks there, patients out on a walk might look out the window and see all the rocks, and bring a bright spot in their day.”

This information was provided by South Central Kansas Medical Center Marketing Director Clayton Pappan.