GRAYSON – Many of the fundamental lessons learned in basketball can be related to everyday life, participants in the first Operation UNITE Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camp of 2013 were told Monday evening.

DSC_0120-winners“Your position in basketball and in life is important,” said Jeff Sheppard, former University of Kentucky all-star. “If you’re one step out of position, you’re in trouble.”

A total of 158 youth participants from four Kentucky counties (Carter, Boyd, Greenup and Lawrence) and two other states (Iowa and Illinois) participated in the three-hour program at Carter County Middle School.

Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps combine basketball skills instruction in conjunction with anti-drug and self-esteem messages.

“You have to listen to directions. You have to practice. You have to follow the rules,” Sheppard said. “These concepts apply to everything you do.”

All participants received a free event T-shirt, regulation basketball and are entered into a drawing for two portable basketball goals given away at the conclusion of each camp. Lucky winners in Carter County were 8-year-old Grace Fields of Fallsburg and 6-year-old Braydon Moore of Olive Hill.

Presented by Codell Construction Management and Senture, 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.

Parents and guardians attended a brief UNITE Foundation education program on synthetic drugs and how to talk to their children about drugs.

During this program, state Representative Jill York updated the adults on efforts in Frankfort to keep up with the changing criminal climate and efforts to control prescription drug abuse.

“We’re here for the same goal for a healthy, drug-free Kentucky,” York said. “And we’re going to make it happen here in Carter County.”

This is the eighth year for the camps. Through Monday, 5,826 youth have participated in 45 regional Shoot Hoops camps.

Helping make the 2013 Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps possible are: Enough (Lifeline of Carter County), Flowers Bakery of London, Inc., Laurel Grocery Company, Walmart of Louisa, Pineville Rotary Club, Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy, Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge Center, First National Bank of Grayson, WestCare Kentucky, Wilhoit Law Office and Grayson Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation.