Five free regional Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps conducted by former University of Kentucky all-star Jeff Sheppard will be offered by Operation UNITE this summer.

All school-age youth are invited to participate in any of the camps, to be held at the following dates and locations:

  • Monday, June 30 – Laurel County, at Bush Elementary School, 1730 East Laurel Road, located off East KY 80, in London.
  • Tuesday, July 1 – Perry County, at East Perry Elementary School, 1559 East KY 80 in Hazard.
  • Monday, July 7 – Johnson County, at Johnson County Middle School, 251 South Mayo Trail, in Paintsville.
  • Tuesday, July 8 – Boyd County, at Boyd County High School, 14375 Lions Lane, located just north of I-64 on The Purple Heart Highway (Exit 185), in Ashland.
  • Thursday, July 10 – Harlan County, at Harlan County High School, 4000 U.S. 119, located between Harlan and Cumberland, in Baxter.

Each camp begins at 4 p.m. and concludes about 7 p.m. Participants are asked to arrive 30 minutes early for registration. (There is no advance registration.)

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

For safety and comfort while participating, youth 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 Ameritox, 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 brief UNITE Foundation-sponsored education program on the emerging heroin problem. Information on the signs, symptoms and dangers posed by prescription 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 2014 Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps possible are the Cumberland Gap Mountain Spring Water (Middlesboro), UPS Foundation, Walmart (Louisa), Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge Center (Manchester), Farm Credit Mid-America (London), Minuteman Press (London), and WestCare Hal Rogers Appalachian Recovery Center (Ashcamp).

Since 2006, UNITE has conducted 50 regional basketball camps with 6,677 youth participants representing 55 Kentucky counties, 15 other states and two other countries.