Shoot Hoops Not Drugs
Two regional Shoot Hoops camps held in June
Operation UNITE was only be able to host two regional Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps in 2021 as a result of restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic – one in Magoffin County and one in Boyd County.
A total of 174 youth from 8 Kentucky counties — Boyd, Carter, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Laurel, Magoffin and Morgan — and two other states (Tennessee and West Virginia) participated in these regional camps.
An informational program on the dangers from stimulant drugs was attended by 73 parents/guardians.
Monday, June 7 – Magoffin County
The first of two Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps of 2021 was held June 7, 2021, at Magoffin County High School in Salyersville.
A total of 120 youth representing Magoffin, Floyd, Johnson, Laurel and Morgan counties in Kentucky, and Claiborne County, Tennessee, participated in the camp. An informational session on stimulants was presented to 40 parents/guardians.
Winners of the two basketball goals were 5-year-old Makenzie Blanton and 10-year-old Isaiah Mullis, both of Magoffin County.
Thursday, June 10 – Boyd County
The second of two Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps with Jarrod Polson was held June 10, 2021 at Boyd County High School in Ashland.
A total of 54 youth representing Boyd, Greenup and Carter counties in Kentucky, and Cabell County, West Virginia, participated in the camp. An informational program on stimulants was attended by 33 parents/guardians.
Winners of the two basketball goals were 7-year-old Presley Hampton and 7-year-old Gabe Finley, both of Boyd County.
Tuesday, September 14 – Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy
In addition to the two regional Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps, UNITE conducted a camp for cadets at the Kentucky National Guard’s Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy at Fort Knox on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
A total of 64 cadets spent several hours learning the basics of dribbling, passing and shooting basketballs from former University of Kentucky point guard Jarrod Polson, who emphasized that the same strategies that make you successful on the basketball court also apply to other parts of your life.
Since its inception in 2006 through September 15, 2021, there have been 89 Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps drawing 11,760 youth participants from 63 Kentucky counties, 20 other states, and two other countries – England and Mexico.
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: 1) a specially designed event T-shirt, 2) regulation autographed Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball, and 3) 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.
As part of each camp, parents and guardians are invited to attend a brief education program.
The 2021 program provided information about the dangers posed by stimulant drugs – including such commonly used drugs as Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Adderall, and Ecstasy.
Since inception, 2,601 adults have attended these awareness sessions.
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.
Virtual SHND Camp held for ChalleNGe Academies
The first virtual Shoot Hoop Not Drugs basketball camp was conducted December 8, 2020, for 101 cadets from the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy and Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy. UNITE was not able to offer regional Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps in 2020 because of restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
Shoot Hoops Not Drugs Sponsors
Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps are funded entirely through sponsorships and donations.
2021 Event Sponsor
2021 Gold Sponsor
2021 Silver Sponsors
2021 Bronze Sponsors
Bailey’s Furniture & GE Appliances, Salyersville
Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge Center, Manchester
Hometown True Value Hardware, Salyersville
Jerraco Drilling Supply, Oil Springs
Sanibel House, Catlettsburg
Shields Law Office, Catlettsburg