For Bobby Chisum and his team, basketball is about much more than winning games.


“We teach life skills through the sport of basketball,” said Chisum, who coaches the Chisum’s Starz youth team in Milford and Felton.


The Starz are Amateur Athletic Union teams. The AAU is a national non-profit organization dedicated to giving amateur athletes under 18 a place to play and learn about sports.


For Bobby Chisum and his team, basketball is about much more than winning games.

“We teach life skills through the sport of basketball,” said Chisum, who coaches the Chisum’s Starz youth team in Milford and Felton.

The Starz are Amateur Athletic Union teams. The AAU is a national non-profit organization dedicated to giving amateur athletes under 18 a place to play and learn about sports.

Chisum has been running his team since 2009, and recently expanded his efforts to include a 14-and-under team. and a girls’ team that practices in Camden As he and the team’s other coaches teach the kids how to play basketball, he said, they also try to foster a sense of community that extends beyond the game.

“We want them to learn responsibility,” Chisum said. “As part of the team, they interact with different schools, with kids from different towns and different states. We bring kids together from Dover, from Milford, from all different areas.”

They learn to work as a team — on the court and off. 

“We teach the fundamentals of basketball, but we don’t want that to be the end of it,” Chisum said. “We’re teaching them life skills in general: How to become a better young man. How to accept ‘no.’ How to deal with their anger. We talk to them before every practice about the importance of education and staying off drugs.”

The players travel and room together for away games

“We teach them some social development, some interaction,” he said. “It’s positive interaction for them.”

Those games take them “all over Delmarva,” and sometimes farther than that, Chisum said.

“We play a team from Salisbury, and then a team from Berlin — Berlin, Maryland, not Berlin, Germany,” he said. “We have to raise money to get the kids to Maryland and get a hotel room for the night, and we’d have to raise a whole lot more to get to Germany.”

They practice in downtown Milford at the Family Resource Center — the former Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club — and in Felton, at Lake Forest North Elementary School.

“Dr. (Dan) Curry, the superintendent at Lake Forest, he looks out for us,” Chisums aid. “He’s been a great help to the program over the last three years.”

But the team relies on broader community support to help fund its equipment, away games and other expenses.

“I’ve turned the program over to official non-profit status, so we have a 501(c)(3) group that people can donate to and be able to put that on their taxes,” Chisum said. “Last year we had 36 children, and we’re only growing. It’s a chance to help these kids put their lives on the right track.”

For more information on the Chisum’s Starz, call 535-4438, or