Supervsior with three kids holding the rocks they painted

Colourful rocks adorned with inspirational messages have been placed along the Garrison Petawawa Fitness Trail. These rocks were painted by children attending the Personnel Support Programs (PSP) summer camps. (Above) Sarah Nault, PSP Community Recreation Supervisor and Alexa Leblanc, Damyen Dupont and Vanessa Brind’Amour show off some of the rocks they created. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

MOMs - Messages Of Motivation: find a MOM or two along the Garrison Fitness Trail

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday October 1, 2020

Dotted along the Garrison Petawawa Fitness Trail are colourful rocks bearing cheerful messages of motivation (MOMs).

They aren’t a natural part of the scenery, but instead were intentionally placed there by Garrison Petawawa Personnel Support Programs (PSP) to bring delight to those using the trail.

Created by children attending summer camps at the Recreation Complex, these rocks vary from the extremely colourful to the more subdued - but all were lovingly made to motivate and inspire Canadian Armed Forces members while they sweat.

“It is potentially something that they’ll notice when they are doing their PT (physical training), and it will bring them joy or a smile,” said PSP Health Promotion Manager Dana Lawson.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, many people are stressed. Seeing a pop of colour or a hopeful message may be enough to brighten someone’s day.

“It might give you a bit of a boost,” said Lawson.

She got the idea when she saw inspirational stones on trails in the Town of Petawawa, left by people taking part in the Kindness Rock Project. As she was biking past them, she couldn’t help but smile knowing someone went out of their way to spread joy during these trying times.

There has been research, notably from the University of California, Berkeley, claiming that witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, which is commonly nicknamed the love hormone.

“Seeing or hearing a positive message can help you feel better,” said Lawson.

The trail is currently only open to military members. But once it opens for all, Spot the Rock could be a fun game for families, encouraging fitness for everyone.

“Maybe it will grow and expand,” said Lawson, adding the goal is to bring about something positive.

The rocks will remain on the trail as long as possible.