"Have Fun," Jose said to me in his gruff voice smiling ear to ear.
"You had fun this week," I said almost as a question to confirm that I understood.
"You liked Power Camp and going to ValleyFair," I said, again in a question like way to make sure I understood.
We were at the end of a long week, as far as youth work goes. Power Camp is a lot of work. It is a lot of work to coordinate academic lessons for kids ranging all the way from 1st grade to 8th grades, and make it fun. It is a lot of work to manage the transportation logistics of around 60 kids getting to and from camp everyday. Not to mention the actual youth work; when we are actually working with youth. It's about a 60 hour work week for us on staff.
So there we stood at the end of a long week, after a super fun day at Valleyfair (The premier amusement park in the state) ready to board a bus back to DinoMights' Headquarters. I'm not sure "Have fun" were the words rattling in my ears. It was something more like "sleep," or "Don't work tomorrow," or "I wonder if my family will remember me."
Jose is going into 4th grade. He doesn't say much, and when he does it can be tough to understand. He couldn't hear for the first few years of his life. What he did hear was mostly Spanish. He has had several operations since we've known him, and can hear much better now. He's learning a lot of English, and is less afraid of communicating. However, he's still pretty quiet most of the time. His facial expressions usually tell most of the story.
"Have fun," with an ear to ear smile says it all. Jose had it all last week. It didn't matter that he couldn't go in the pool because of his ears, and he had no idea how much work went into providing that fun time. But, in his own way he still said, "Thank you very much. You have no idea, Scott, what this means to me."