Free regional basketball camps will be offered by Operation UNITE again this summer.

The Shoot Hoops Not Drugs program with former University of Kentucky basketball star Jeff Sheppard will have six stops:

• Tuesday, June 7 – Nancy Elementary School in Pulaski County.

• Thursday, June 9 – Flat Lick Elementary School in Knox County.

• Tuesday, June 14 – Breathitt County High School in Breathitt County.

• Thursday, July 7 – Jenkins High School in Letcher County.

• Tuesday, July 12 – Meade Memorial Elementary School in Johnson County.

• Thursday, July 14 – Rockcastle County Middle School in Rockcastle County.

Each camp begins at 4 p.m. and concludes about 7 p.m. Participants are asked to arrive 30 minutes early to complete registration.

Any school-age youth is welcome to participate in the program, which provides basketball skills instruction in conjunction with anti-drug and self-esteem messages.

Participants are asked not to wear open-toe shoes or sandals.

All participants will receive a free event T-shirt, regulation basketball, food and water, and be entered into a drawing for two portable basketball goals given away at the conclusion of each camp.

Presented by Phoenix Products, Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps are fun, interactive, and provide a safe, drug-free activity where children have an opportunity to interact with positive role models while learning fundamental basketball skills.

In addition, parents and guardians will have an opportunity to attend a UNITE Foundation education program on how to talk to their children about drugs. Information on the signs, symptoms and dangers posed by drugs will also be given.

As a senior at the University of Kentucky, Sheppard was named the NCAA’s Final Four Most Valuable Player in the Wildcats’ 1997-98 National Championship season. He would later go on to play one season with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and 3 years in Italy.

Helping make the 2011 Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps possible are:

Gold Sponsors – Codell Construction, Knox County UNITE Coalition, Rockcastle County UNITE Coalition, Senture, Walmart Stores.

Silver Sponsors – Citizens Bank & Trust (Jackson), Citizens National Bank (Somerset), First National Bank (Jackson), Huffman & Huffman, PSC (Somerset), and Johnny Maco’s Electrical Contracting (Jackson).

Bronze Sponsors – Alton Blakley Family of Dealerships (Somerset), Community Trust Bank (Pikeville) and St. Joseph-Martin (Floyd County).

Sponsors are still welcome. To learn more contact UNITE at 1-866-678-6483.

Since 2006, UNITE has conducted 33 regional camps with 4,307 participants representing 52 Kentucky counties, 11 other states and one other country.