End of Summer Picnic at Ricketts Glen

As summer starts to wind down, Caring Communities organized a picnic for clients as a way to slow down, relax, and take in the natural beauty of Ricketts Glen State Park in Benton, PA. Though, with a bright, sunny day, a lake full of enthusiastic swimmers, and temperatures pushing 90 degrees, the only indicator of the incoming autumn was the sparse layer of fallen leaves.

Caring Communities commandeered a pavilion overlooking Lake Jean and its mini beach. As clients trickled in, it was easy to see the worry of everyday life shed and the relaxation settle in. Guests were welcomed with hot-off-the-grill hamburgers, cook out staples like macaroni salad, and homemade cookies for dessert.

Participants were free to explore the park, including trails rife with waterfalls, a walk along the beach, boating rentals, and volleyball. Caring Communities’ Jake Kelley also organized an art project for those who were there more for leisure than adventure. Inspired by a piece of art found by our Towanda office, Kelley brought all the supplies for everyone to design their own rock art.

If you’re unfamiliar with rock art, it started gaining popularity back in 2016 when residents in Studio City, CA (just outside of Los Angeles) began finding uniquely painted smooth river rocks on their doorsteps, often accompanied by inspirational messages or information about local programs. Marissa Paesano, of our Bloomsburg office, found one locally and decided to start our very own Caring Communities collection.

Some participants were hesitant to begin.

“I’m not very good at art,” lamented one client.

“Every day you’re doing art,” exclaimed another in support. “Mixing colors and patterns when you get dressed? That’s art!” He went on to say that people tend to be “too caught up in what society says is art.”

And with one quick, poignant speech, everyone finally joined in and the results were gorgeous! Some went the supportive route, letting anyone who saw the stone know there is plenty of hope and love out there for them. Others went a more “inspired” route, from dreaming of daisies and Caribbean vacations to the cookies shared earlier. Participants were welcome to take home their own piece of art, though many chose to leave them behind to let their messages speak to others.

Caring Communities hopes to keep up the rock art project at future events. It’s a way to bring everyone together, let out some creativity, and energize others. There are some fun plans around these stones in the future, so keep an eye out for them. They may just pop up when you least expect them!