Three free regional basketball camps conducted by former University of Kentucky all-star Jeff Sheppard will be offered by Operation UNITE June 17-20. These are the final camps of the year.

All school-age youth are invited to participate in the Shoot Hoops Not Drugs programs at the following dates and locations:

• Monday, June 17 – Leslie County, Leslie County High School, off U.S. 421, south of Hyden

• Tuesday, June 18 – Lincoln County, Lincoln County High School, 60 Education Way, Stanford

• Thursday, June 20 – Breathitt County, Sebastian Middle School, 244 LBJ Road, Jackson

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

The first three camps this year – Carter, Elliott and Bell counties – have been attended by 446 youth participants representing nine Kentucky counties and five other states.

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

For safety, participants are asked not to wear open-toe shoes or sandals.

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

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.

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

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 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, Breathitt County Agency for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) and Grayson Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation.

Since 2006, UNITE has conducted 47 regional camps with 6,111 youth participants representing 55 Kentucky counties, 15 other states and two other countries.