Operation UNITE is offering five regional Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball skills camps across southern and eastern Kentucky this summer.

All school-aged youth are invited to participate in these free camps, which last from 4 pm to 7 pm. Camps will be conducted:

  • Monday, June 6, at Sebastian Elementary School in Jackson (Breathitt County).
  • Monday, June 13, at Johnson Central High School in Paintsville (Johnson County).
  • Tuesday, June 14, at McCreary County Middle School in Stearns (McCreary County).
  • Thursday, June 16, at Jackson County High School in McKee (Jackson County).
  • Monday, June 20, at Harlan County High School in Baxter (Harlan County).

Former University of Kentucky point guard and four-time All-SEC Academic Team member Jarrod Polson – who was part of the 2011-12 National Championship squad – will lead each of these camps.

Participants are urged to arrive 30 minutes early for registration. (There is no advance registration.)

For safety and comfort while participating, youth are asked not to wear open-toe shoes or sandals.

Participants will receive a free event T-shirt, regulation-sized signature basketball, and be entered into a drawing for two portable basketball goals given away at the conclusion of each camp. (You must be present to win.) Food and water are provided.

Presented by the Kentucky National Guard, Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps are fun, interactive, and provide a safe, drug-free summer activity. Youth will interact with positive role models while learning fundamental basketball skills. Polson relates these fundamentals to situations participants face later in life – maintaining a healthy lifestyle, listening, teamwork, effort, and living with the consequences for making poor choices.

In addition, parents and guardians will have an opportunity to attend a brief UNITE-sponsored education program about the dangers posed by vaping. Information on the signs, symptoms and dangers posed by prescription drugs will also be provided.

Polson, a native of Wilmore, Kentucky, went from a walk-on to a scholarship athlete before his freshman year at UK even began. Over his four years at UK, Polson played in 94 games scoring a total of 140 points with a .424 field goal percentage (.313 three-point percentage).

Since 2006, UNITE has conducted 90 Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps drawing 11,836 youth participants representing 63 Kentucky counties, 20 other states and two other countries. More than 2,600 parents/caregivers and other adults have attended the educational awareness sessions.

Helping make the 2022 Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps possible are:

GOLD Sponsors: Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Appalachian Wireless, Citizens Bank & Trust Company of Jackson, Don Franklin Family of Dealerships, Kentucky River Regional Prevention Center, Outdoor Venture Corporation, and People’s Rural Telephone Company.

SILVER Sponsors: 123 Café (Paintsville), Addiction Recovery Care (Louisa), AmeriCorps-Kentucky, Arbys/KFC (Whitley City), Bimbo Bakery (London), Blue Ridge Homes (Whitley City), Champions for a Drug-Free McCreary County UNITE Coalition, Citizens Bank of Kentucky (Paintsville), Clearing the Air Coalition (Whitley City), Community Trust Bank (Pikeville), Cumberland Gap Mountain Spring Water (Middlesboro), Dunahoo Furniture (Jackson), Fire & Ice Heating and Cooling Refrigeration (Nippa), Harlan County High School FRYSC, Johnson County Farm Bureau, Johnson County Sheriff Doug Saylor, Kentucky River Medical Center (Jackson), Laurel Grocery (London), McCreary County ASAP, McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters, Redemption Road Recovery Center (Barbourville), State Farm-Paul Palphery Insurance (Paintsville), Teeters & May, PLLC (Paintsville), United Cumberland Bank (Whitley City), and Walmart Corporation.

BRONZE Sponsors: Castle’s Roofing & Gutters (Paintsville), Joe’s Auto Sales (Marshes Siding), Kroger (Whitley City), Larry’s Mini Mart (Whitley City), McCreary County Attorney Austin Price, McCreary County Judge-Executive Jimmie Greene, McDonald’s (Whitley City), Peking Dragon Chinese Restaurant (Paintsville), Porkey’s Pizza (Paintsville), Smokin’ Butts BBQ, LLC (Paintsville), State Farm-Randy Kidd Insurance (Whitley City), and Tres Hermanos Nuñez Restaurant (Paintsville).