There are small, hand-painted legacies scattered far and wide in remembrance of Rowan Frensley, 7, who died Dec. 14 when he fell off his Cub Scout pack’s float at the tail end of the Mt. Juliet Christmas parade.
Now, in a gracious attempt to keep his memory alive and spur random acts of kindness, there’s a social media movement that has caught on.
Tara Armstrong is a Den Mother of Pack 912 (Rowan’s pack) and her son, Jude, went to kindergarten with Rowan.
Recently Armstrong made a Facebook group called Rowan Rocks 912. The movement is called #RowanRocks and it encourages people to collect rocks and paint them in Rowan’s honor and “plant” them in various places in their community.
“I wanted to come up with an activity to help the other members of his pack honor his memory,” Armstrong said. “It needed to be something that reflected how Rowan lived, which led us to this kindness movement.”
Rowan had an extensive rock collection. Armstrong said it was displayed during his visitation service.
“It was then that I had a conversation with another Pack 912 mother, Melissa Conradi, about painting rocks as a group activity,” Armstrong said. “We wanted the kids to have a creative outlet, and start a tradition of dropping off their painted rocks during Scout campouts and weekend hikes. This would symbolize that Rowan is still very much a part of the pack and will always be remembered by his fellow Scouts.”
Armstrong created the Facebook group and an Instagram account as a way for them to track the rocks wherever they are placed. Anyone who finds a rock is encouraged to take a picture of it and tell where they found it and post it on the group’s Facebook or Instagram.
“I decided to tie in something that Rowan's father, Art Frensley, reminded his son to do every day: Be kind,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said Rowan was the “kindest, most caring child I have ever known.”
“He was always so loving toward anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him, and that was a direct reflection of his upbringing,” she said. “It made perfect sense to challenge anyone who finds one of our Rowan Rocks to live as Rowan lived, and be kind.”
Within the first few hours of the group’s creation, an artist in the United Kingdom shared a sketch he drew of Rowan as an act of kindness.
“It’s amazing to know that Rowan’s legacy of kindness has reached so far, so quickly,” Armstrong said.
There are many posts from across the country from groups saying they have taken up the challenge and are organizing rock painting sessions.
To participate, paint “#RowanRocks912” somewhere on the rock. Share the photos to the group’s Facebook page or on Instagram with the same tag.
“This is an amazing opportunity for anyone, anywhere, to do a little good in the world and honor the memory of a remarkable little boy,” Armstrong said.