Local school-age youth will have the chance next week to participate in a free basketball camp in Whitley County, which will be conducted by a former University of Kentucky basketball player.
The Operation UNITE Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball skills camps will conclude Thursday, June 20, with a camp at Whitley County High School.
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 conduct a total of five free three-hour camps.
Presented by the Kentucky National Guard, 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.
Polson relates these fundamentals to situations participants will face later in life, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, listening, teamwork, effort, and living with the consequences for making poor decisions.
All participants will receive a free event T-shirt, regulation-sized signature basketball, food and water, and will be entered into a drawing for two portable basketball goals, which will be given away at the conclusion of each camp. You must be present to win.
Other camps will also be taking place around the region.
On Thursday, June 13, there will be a camp at Rowan County Middle School. On Monday, June 17, there will be a camp at West Perry Elementary School. On Tuesday, June 18, there will be a camp at Rockcastle Middle School.
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 advanced registration for the event.
For safety and comfort while participating, youth are asked not to wear open-toe shoes or sandals.
Parents and guardians will have an opportunity to attend a brief UNITE-sponsored education program on vaping, e-cigarettes, and current drug trends during the camp. 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 79 regional basketball camps with 10,445 youth participants representing 62 Kentucky counties, 20 other states and two other countries. More than 2,200 parents/caregivers have attended the educational programs.