The Ripple Effect
When the Urquhart’s picked up their first rocks in Vancouver, they never imagined the ripples that a few painted rocks could create. Before that day, the “city rocks” movement was known mostly in the western United States. Since the family brought the idea to Lakeland, it has swept the state, with groups popping up in over 12 other Florida cities and in 10 other eastern states. A Lakeland rock has even made its way to the Caribbean Islands. However, within Lakeland, it is the personal ripple effects that matter most to Scott and Kristy.
When asked about favorite memories since starting the group, the pair shared stories of being chased down by teary-eyed individuals hoping to share their personal stories of how Lakeland Rocks has changed their lives for the better.
“It can be so simple,” Scott said, “Once, we were walking through Munn Park only to be followed by someone shouting our names. She was having the absolute worst day of her life, but when she was walking to her car after work, she looked down to see a rock that read, ‘Everything is going to be alright,’ and she broke down in tears. Those are the stories that make any sacrifices worth it.”
While Lakeland Rocks has become like a second full-time job for the family, with different events and demands every weekend and a growing facebook stream to monitor, the two couldn’t be happier. “Watching it grow….all these people with a common goal…I absolutely love it.” Scott said, beaming.
The couple also credits the Lakeland community with coming together and standing behind them in their message of positivity. In the group of 30,000 people, they have only experienced a handful of people trying to spread negativity and bring others down. “That really speaks to the community,” Scott noted.
They hope to see more unifying projects grow in Lakeland in the future, encouraging anyone with an idea of something awesome to bring to the community with an enthusiastic, “Go for it.”
“It took us some time to get started because we were worried what people would think,” Kristy added. “We worried that the community would think it was stupid or the city wouldn’t want it here, but you have to get past that. If you want to do it, take the leap. The community will be there to catch you.”
They also hope to see city leaders embracing other projects like they have theirs. “It’s all about communication,” Scott explained. “They came to us with concerns and we addressed them. They are listening to the community and supporting innovation. Just have a conversation and work together. We couldn’t feel more encouraged.”
Based on this interview and throughout the process of preparing for the CityMaker announcement, Scott and Kristy Urquhart were grateful for the recognition of the work they are doing. “We, as a group, including all of the admins and moderators and everyone who has helped to make this happen, are so completely humbled to be chosen as CityMakers,” Scott said earnestly. “The community has been so accepting of Lakeland Rocks. We didn’t do this as a family. The community made it happen.”