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Rocks foster support for police

A group of Cumberland Girl Scouts from troops 5201 and 130 — including Daisy-, Brownie- and Junior-level girls in kindergarten through fifth grade — met June 30 at Bear Creek Lake in Cumberland to discuss the Kindness Rocks movement.

The movement is a new troop-sponsored activity that includes painting kind phrases on rocks and hiding them for people to find. The activity is meant to encourage positive relationships between Cumberland law enforcement and citizens.

Jennifer Turner is the 5201 troop leader and Cumberland Liaison for PACRocks, the organization that oversees the activity in Powhatan, Amelia and Cumberland. She noted the organization now has more than 1,000 members.

“Participants paint rocks displaying their original artwork, inspirational words or phrases or special designs and leave the rocks for others to find,” Turner said.

Turner said Girl Scouts in the county are interested in working together to promote cooperation, unity and respect in their community.

“The Girl Scout Law inspires all of their community service projects, and since respecting authority is one part of the Girl Scout Law, it is the inspiration behind this project,” Turner said.

Among the rocks is a Cumberland Sheriff’s Office rock with the office’s name and the words “protect and serve” painted on the back of the rock. According to Turner, when someone finds this rock, the rock is designated to inspire the finder to take it back to the sheriff’s office, bring it to a law enforcement officer or dispatcher and tell that person “thank you” for being a community hero.

“The finder gets to choose a special prize from a basket provided by the Cumberland Girl Scouts and the Cumberland (County) Sheriff’s Office,” Turner said. “After the special rock is found and turned in, it is re-hidden at another location, and the PACRocks members are given another hint to find it in its new spot.”

Cumberland Sheriff Darrell Hodges said the program helps people get to know their law enforcement members.

“I think it’s a wonderful program, it lets them see us in a different light other than just a person that writes Mom and Dad a ticket or is out here working an accident or comes to the house during a bad situation,” Hodges said. “It lets them get to know us on a one-on-one basis, on a more personal level.”

He noted Turner and others with the Girl Scout troop go out of their way to make sure the Girl Scouts have interaction with law enforcement, including being invited to events.

“The Cumberland branch of PACRocks would like to thank Theresa Hicks, Jennifer Diaz and Tanya Williamson for their help and support of our project and for working with us to increase participation in Cumberland,” Turner said.