(Rockton Rocks, too. Scroll down for story)
"The whole idea is to have community awareness and pride and to be open- minded and kind-hearted," Regenold said.
(Visit Beloit Rocks!! on Facebook HERE.)
People can become involved with the program by joining the Beloit Rocks!! Facebook group. Members can decorate their own rock and hide it in a location that they desire.
The group currently has about 1,300 members.
"I didn’t think it would grow this fast... ," Regenold said.
Regenold says people paint their rocks in a variety of ways.
"They can put any design that’s appropriate. That’s all I ask," Regenold said. "Even if you can’t paint, some of the rocks are decorated with stickers. Acrylic paint is what we use. Nail polish is what we use, and we use magic marker."
Rocks have been hidden in parks, near businesses, on the Beloit College campus and near water towers. Leslie Regenold, Orion’s grandmother, said rocks also can be hidden outside of the community. She said some participants have hidden rocks in Madison.
"Some of the members who see the posts ask if it has to stay in Beloit, and no it doesn’t," Leslie Regenold said. "You can do it in your own community. You just post it on the Beloit Rocks!! Facebook page. We want to see how many members we can get, how far rocks go and how involved people are. Hopefully, we’ll make it overseas."
Leslie advises participants to receive permission before placing a rock near a business.
"There’s no specific place where you can hide them, but you have to be courteous on where you put them," Leslie said. "We had somebody who didn’t want it near their business because they were afraid someone would throw it through the window. You have to respect their wishes."
Orion is required to monitor the program for at least three months. He said he hopes to maintain Beloit Rocks even after he becomes an Eagle Scout.
"It’s going to be a sustainable project," Orion said. "My dad had an idea to pass out rocks at work and to paint them and use it as business cards."
Leslie said Beloit Rocks is an enjoyable activity for families. She said it also encourages people to visit different places in the community.
"It’s fun when you’re out and you see families together," Leslie said. "It’s an inexpensive family outing to get out in the community. People who you don’t even know get to share the hides and the finds."
Orion said he obtained the idea for the project from his grandmother who told him about a similar project that had been started in Missouri.
"When she told me about this, I thought it was a really good idea," Orion said. "So, I started to work on it and got signatures done for my Eagle Scout proposal."
Orion, 13, has been involved with Scouts since he was in kindergarten. He has earned about 100 merit badges. Orion said he enjoys participating in Scouting activities, but there have been some experiences that weren’t too enjoyable.
"I just enjoy getting outdoors and doing the activities that involve Scouting," Orion said. "One of my least favorite memories was for my wilderness merit badge. I had to do a night out just staying outdoors and making your own shelter. It had rained that night, and it was cold and mosquitoes were biting us."
Orion also has helped other Scouts with their Eagle Scout projects and has worked with different Scout troops to clean local cemeteries.
"He’s worked hard at it," Leslie said. "He wants all 136 merit badges."
Rockton rocks, too!
ROCKTON -- Beloit isn’t the only community to embrace the online rock hide-and-seek craze.
The Rockton Rocks Facebook group launched on Aug. 2 and currently has about 360 members.
The organizer, who declined to be identified when contacted through the Facebook page, said the project is a simple activity with many benefits.
"Kids of all ages are creating art, the smiling faces when rocks are found, spending time outdoors and hopefully supporting local businesses while hiding or hunting in town," they wrote.
Here’s how to participate
Visit Facebook and join the group HERE.
Either paint and hide a rock, or search for a rock that’s already hidden.
Seek out decorated rocks hidden outside in the Rockton area. Look in public spaces such as downtown or in the parks.
Once a rock is found, you can either leave it there, move it to a new location or keep it for yourself and paint a new rock to hide for someone else.
When you find a rock, post a picture on the Rockton Rocks Facebook page. This lets the artist know their creation was found. You also can use the hashtag #RocktonRocks.
Make and hide your own rocks
Clean the rocks and let them dry. Acrylic paint works great and is inexpensive. A Sharpie brand marker works well. Write on the back of the rock, "Post pic on Rockton Rocks Facebook Page" or "#RocktonRocks" or "Hey, guess what? You’re awesome!"
Don’t hide rocks where others would have to climb or where someone could trip on them. Remember, many children will be rock hunting.