James Francis




Born in 1909, Buck Burshears became the first Eagle Scout in southeastern Colorado. Scoutmaster of the Koshare Indian Dancers from 1933 until his death in 1987, Buck was awarded the highest honors given to an adult Scouter - the Silver Beaver, the Silver Antelope, the Silver Buffalo, and the Distinguished Eagle Scout award. A Paul Harris Fellow in the Rotary Club, Buck was also blood brother to the Chippewa, adopted into the Blackfoot tribe, received an honorary Doctorate for his work with youth, and was awarded the President's Volunteers in Action Award by President Ronald Reagan.

Buck built the Koshare Indian Museum and its collections literally from the ground up, and developed the Koshare Indian Dancers into a world famous troop of Boy Scouts, dedicating the whole of his life to over 3500 boys who grew into young men as Koshares, and graduating over 575 Eagle Scouts. The recipient of awards and accolades too numerous to mention, Buck never forgot a simple phrase that he borrowed from Forest Witcraft:

"A hundred years from now, it will not matter how big the house I lived in was, or what kind of car I drove, or how much money I had in the bank. What will matter is that I was important in the life of a boy."

A Scoutmaster's Prayer

This poem was written years ago during World War II on a night preceding a Koshare Christmas party. Buck Burshears, while trying to figure out something to say at the banquet the following night had just learned that another of his boys, one of his Koshares was missing in action. The result was the poem, "A Scoutmaster’s Prayer", which Buck spent most of the night writing.

A little boy came knocking at my Scout room door.
An awfully little fellow, just twelve and no more.
His eyes danced as he watched my gang at rowdy play.
"I would like to be a Scout," he said, "I’m twelve just yesterday.
In the weeks to come he found his place, a trim young Scout he made.
The tests he passed with eagerness, a thorough job sure paid.
The oath, the laws, the knots and flag, were taken to his heart.
A better man he was sure to be tho he’d just begun to start.
By the candle lighted darkness I watched his round face beam
As the oath and law he pledged to keep - just like a prayer it seemed.
The years to come were happy ones as we followed the trail -
That greater men had laid for us far up where eagles sail.
I watched him grow from boy to man, the days were far too few,
To try to teach the important things that Scouting said were true.
I didn’t know so long ago our nation he would defend,
I only saw a job to do, a helping hand to lend.
Now he’s flying higher still with silver wings up there.
I pray to God the job I did was better than just fair.
He thanked me once for what I did so many years ago.
It was not his thanks that paid me because he did not know
That greater thanks he’d given me a thousand times before
By his dancing eyes and smiling face - could one ask for more?
There are other boys a-knocking, I must invite them in.
Please, God, give me strength to make them better men.

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