Shoot Hoops Not Drugs

Seven regional Shoot Hoops camps held in 2024

For the 19th summer, Operation UNITE hosted regional Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps. Seven FREE camps were conducted in June 2024. Any school-aged youth – regardless of where they live – was invited to participate. In addition, UNITE conducted a camp for the Spring class of the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Harlan County.

A total of 868 youth from 37 Kentucky counties and 3 other states participated in a 2024 Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camp. An educational presentation on the “Hidden Dangers of Vaping” was attended by 280 people. A total of 192 volunteers from UNITE Community Coalitions, the UNITE Service Corps (Kentucky AmeriCorps), Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge, and Redemption Road Recovery Center for Men assisted UNITE staff conduct the camps.

We knew Shoot Hoops would be a great event because Operation UNITE was putting it on. But … it super-exceeded our expectations! Awesome! The energy in that gym was just beyond words!

Stacey Cornish

Nelson County FRYSC

Morgan Co.

Tuesday, June 4

Morgan County High School

71 campers from 8 counties participated; 35 people attended the adult presentation, and there were 20 volunteers assisting.

Nelson Co.

Thursday, June 6

Nelson County High School

171 campers from 6 Kentucky counties and North Carolina participated; 48 people attended the adult presentation, and there were 19 volunteers assisting.

Jackson Co.

Monday, June 10

Jackson County High School

73 campers from 4 counties participated, 36 people attended the adult presentation, and there were 28 volunteers assisting.

Martin Co.

Tuesday, June 11

Martin County High School

128 campers from 5 Kentucky counties and two other states participated, 47 people attended the adult presentation, and there were 25 volunteers assisting.

Lincoln Co.

Thursday, June 13

Lincoln County High School

147 campers from 9 counties participated, 40 people attended the adult presentation, and there were 28 volunteers assisting.

Knox Co.

Tuesday, June 18

Union Commonwealth University
John M. Robsion Arena

93 campers from 5 counties participated, 37 people attended the adult presentation, and there were 30 volunteers assisting.

Bath Co.

Thursday, June 20

Owingsville Elementary School

107 campers from 7 counties participated, 37 people attended the adult presentation, and there were 26 volunteers assisting.

Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy

In addition to the regional Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps held each summer, Operation UNITE provides a dedicated camp for cadets at the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Harlan County for both the spring and fall classes. This spring, 78 cadets from the 24th class participated in the program, held May 30, 2024. Harlan County standout and University of Kentucky commit Trent Noah made a surprise appearance.

About the camps

Shoot Hoops camps provide school-age youth an opportunity to interact with positive role models, receive positive life-skill and self-esteem messages that emphasize the importance for them to stay drug-free, all while receiving basic basketball skills instruction.

All participants in the UNITE-sponsored camps::

  • Receive a specially designed event T-shirt.
  • Receive a regulation-sized autographed Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball.
  • Are entered into a drawing for two portable basketball goals that are given away at the conclusion of each camp location. (You must be present to win.)

Water and food are provided to everyone attending each camp.

Since its inception in 2006 through June 20, 2024, there have been 113 Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps drawing 14,256 youth participants from 66 Kentucky counties, 20 other states, and two other countries – England and Mexico.

Adult Education

As part of each camp, parents and guardians are invited to attend a brief educational program. The 2024 presentation focused on the hidden dangers posed by vaping.

One parent said it had opened her eyes and that she was planning to quit vaping. She had tears in her eyes and goosebumps. She said she had no idea about the dangers and that it was made to be addictive. She didn’t want to be a bad influence on her son. They had a conversation about it when they went home.

Since inception, 3,292 adults have attended these drug prevention / awareness education sessions

Positive Role-Models

Some of the best volunteers at camp have been the residents and staff from residential treatment facilities located within UNITE’s service region. Their enthusiasm for helping youth make good choices, stay positive, and headed in a drug-free direction has added an extra spark to the skills instruction.

In addition, members of the host county’s UNITE Community Coalition provide much-appreciated support by assisting with registration, food preparation and service, and event cleanup.

About Jarrod Polson

Former University of Kentucky point guard and four-time All-SEC Academic Team member Jarrod Polson conducts the SHND camps.

A native of Wilmore, Polson set the Kentucky High School Athletic Association record for free throws attempted and made in a January 2009 game in which he tallied 50 points. As a senior, he helped lead West Jessamine High School to the second round of the Sweet 16 state tournament and was named First Team All-State. He finished his high-school career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,884 points.
Originally a walk-on at UK, the 6-foot-2 point guard quickly impressed Coach John Calipari, who gave him a full scholarship before his freshman year began. Although receiving only limited playing time during his first two seasons – which included a National Championship during the 2011-12 season – Polson proved himself in the 2012-13 season-opening game against Maryland. After being inserted for an ailing teammate, he logged 10-points, a key steal, and clutch free throws in the waning minutes of the game to solidify his spot in the rotation.
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). In the spring of 2014, the West Jessamine Colts retired Polson’s jersey – the first time that distinction had been awarded in school history.
Polson, who assisted with several camps in 2015 and 2016, took over the camps from SHND founder Jeff Sheppard in 2017.

Camp photos

To view photos from previous Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps click on the year.

2024  |  2023  |  2022  |  2021  |  2020  |  2019   |   2018   |   2017  |   2016  |   2015  |   2014  |   2013  |   2012  |   2011  |   2010

Shoot Hoops Not Drugs Sponsors

Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps are funded entirely through sponsorships and donations.

2024 Event Sponsor

2024 Platinum Sponsor

2024 Gold Sponsors

2024 Silver Sponsors

2024 Bronze Sponsors


Bingham Tire & Oil – Barbourville

Center for Trait-Based Transformation – Campbellsville

Cumberland Valley Rural Electric, Inc. – Gray

First Southern National Bank – Stanford

Forcht Bank – Barbourville Banking Center

Gay Brothers Logging & Lumber – Annville

Kentucky Phoenix Project

Kiwanis Club of West Liberty

Martina McClure Makeup Artist – London

Bob Mitchell – Corbin

Ohio Valley Physicians, Inc. – Huntington, WVa

Sav-A-Lot – Owingsville

Southeast Apparatus, LLC – Corbin

Southeastern KY Rehabilitation Industries, Inc. (SEKRI)

Tri-County Elks Lodge #2826