The last of Operation UNITE’s regional Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps this summer will be held the second week of July.

Conducted by former University of Kentucky all-star Jeff Sheppard, the camps are free to any school-aged youth.

Three camps will be conducted over a four-day stretch: Monday, July 7, at Johnson County Middle School, 251 South Mayo Trail in Paintsville; Tuesday, July 8, at Boyd County High School, 14375 Lions Lane, located just north of I-64 on The Purple Heart Highway (Exit 185) in Ashland; and Thursday, July 10, at Harlan County High School, 4000 U.S. 119, located between Harlan and Cumberland, in Baxter.

Each camp – which combines basketball skills instruction with anti-drug and self-esteem messages – begins at 4 p.m. and concludes about 7 p.m.

Participants are asked to arrive 30 minutes early to register. (There is no advance registration.) 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.

Helping make the 2014 Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps possible are the Cumberland Gap Mountain Spring Water (Middlesboro), UPS Foundation, Walmart (Louisa), Kentucky Army National Guard, Laurel Grocery (London), Flowers Bakery (London), Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge Center (Manchester), Farm Credit Mid-America (London), Minuteman Press (London), Tim Short Auto Group (London and Manchester), and WestCare Hal Rogers Appalachian Recovery Center (Ashcamp).

This is the eighth season for Shoot Hoops Not Drugs.