AV ROCKS! Brummett wants you to move it, move it

A table full of AV Rocks! co-conspirators gathered Thursday evening at the Arcadia Valley Sports Complex to try out their creativity painting rocks.  Clues to the whereabouts of the brightly colored stones are listed on Facebook and some of them are scattered randomly about. The just-for-fun exercise is just that - an attempt to get people out to get some exercise and to promote this beautiful area we call The Valley. Taking part in the fun are (clockwise from upper right) Richard Brummett, Holly DeMaria, Jenn Sutton, Maddox Sutton, Mason Sutton, Jake Sutton, Emma DeMaria, Sarala Buckman and Mandy DeMaria.  Others came to help later in the evening.  In all, 31 people chipped in to help.

If there is one thing the Arcadia Valley has plenty of, it is rocks.  They are everywhere in this ancient volcanic region. However, you might start seeing some brightly painted stones if you get out of the house and do some walking.

That is what Rich Brummett is trying to do: get people out, moving and appreciating what the local area has to offer.

AV Rocks! is his brainchild, although he fully admits he adapted the idea from his hometown of Joplin.  For the past couple of weeks, he has been painting - and hiding - rocks emblazoned with the slogan “AV Rocks!”

“At different places all across the country – it is a fun, free activity,” he explained. “They paint rocks and drop them around the area, use social media to give clues, and try to get people to go out and look for them.  It gets people out and about in the community and, whether you are 99 years old or 6 years old, it is something you can enjoy.”

Brummett, who is an Agriculture Education instructor at the Arcadia Valley Career Technical Center, is a walker, striving to walk from three to 10 miles “most every day.”  One of his favorite places to walk is the Wildcat Glades Conservation Area near the place he grew up, the Joplin area in Southwest Missouri.

“And I noticed the last time I was home,” he said. “I saw all these painted rocks laying around and I thought, ‘What the heck is up with this?’ Then I begin to see painted rocks in all the parks in Joplin, with thousands of people getting out and about and enjoying what (the community) has to offer.

“I thought, ‘As much as I walk around The Valley and as much as we have to offer, that might be a neat project to start up around here.’

“I made a Facebook page maybe a month, month-and-a-half ago. About two weeks ago I put a few rocks out and Jenn Sutton, one of our Elementary School teachers, just loved the idea.  She and her husband and two little boys went out looking for the rocks and I started putting clues on my Facebook page.  I put out 10 or 15 rocks and they all just disappeared because nobody knew what it was all about.

“Jenn said, ‘Hey, can we put out our own rocks?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s what it is all about.’  So, I gave her all my painting supplies.”

One of his agricultural students, a good artist, painted some rocks for her Supervised Ag Experience - a yearly project required of each student.

“So, we put them all out and they disappeared,” Rick said, “but people started to catch on.  I was on one of my walks the other night about 8:30 and I was at the Sports Complex and this truck pulled out, rolled down the windows and people yelled ‘AV Rocks!’  

“I have know idea who they were.”

Others have started helping with the project.

“Jenn Sutton jumped on board with it and she even has her husband, Jake, painting rocks,” Brummett laughed. “Then I got a Facebook message from Mandy DeMaria, who is a student at Missouri University of Science and Technology at Rolla.  She said, ‘Hey, you need to put some information about geology on your Facebook page.’ She is onboard and will be working on a separate page (AV Rocks/Geology) with more geology info. We haven’t done a whole lot yet.

“Mandy told me she was working on some rocks and I told her, ‘I hope you are more talented then I am.’  She replied, ‘Oh, I am!’  

“She sent me a photo of her painted rocks – and she is more talented.”

Brummett’s AV Rocks! Facebook page can be found by searching for AV Rocks@WalkArcadiaValley.

There are also a few common-sense rules for participating; that is, if you want to paint rocks and put them out yourself.  The following is also on the Facebook page:

If you find a rock, don’t forget to post a pic! We really appreciate the fun responses we’re seeing

You can leave it where you found it or rehide it -- Try to hide the rocks in plain sight and easy to get to and not somewhere where it will hurt a lawn mower. 

If you want to leave a clever hint about the rock’s new location to help the next person find it, that would be fun too! 

Please take the time to invite your friends to like this page and to join in on the fun. 

-This group and admins are not responsible for any injuries, accidents or damages caused by rocks or members of this group. 

- No rocks are to be left in stores or place of business. It is simply not ethical or fair to the store owner and causes a multitude of issues surrounding it, including increased liability, theft and more.

- When hiding rocks make sure it is safe for everyone to find.

- No “adult” version rocks allowed on here.

- DO NOT get your Rocks from private property without asking.

- DO NOT get Rocks to paint from State or Federal property. If you need help getting rocks to paint let us know.

- Don’t use google eyes, buttons, stickers, melted crayon, sequins and anything else that can fall off, as they can come off and create garbage.

- Please be respectful on here.