The Raiders are still based in Oakland, but if everything goes according to schedule in 2 years they will be the Las Vegas Raiders. As such bits and pieces of those plans are going to be in place throughout the remaining days of Oakland having the team.
One of those “bits and pieces” is community outreach which has begun in Clark County, Nevada. This week the organization sent several players to visit Gene Ward Elementary School where almost 100 3rd graders were eagerly awaiting their visit.
Karl Joseph, Bruce Irvin, Rodney Hudson, Lee Smith, and Shilique Calhoun took time out of their busy off-season to spearhead community outreach in Vegas.
Following a tour of the construction site for the new stadium being built, they made their real difference to the community by visiting the elementary school and voting on an art project. They hung out with the excited students and then topped off their visit to Vegas by joining the Raiders Foundation for an event benefiting the Veterans Village of Topgolf later that night.
“Most of our efforts are directed on youth and children,” Raiders President Marc Badain said Wednesday in a telephone interview with The Las Vegas Review Journal. “We’ve gotten a lot of requests, and we’re trying to hit as many as we can all across the valley. You just want to make sure that they match some of the programs that we as an organization are doing, or that the NFL is supporting. The NFL has a program called ‘Play 60’ that we’ve brought to schools.”
The Raiders are still at the early stages of this long term process of moving the team, but they know if it’s going to work they need the current and future generations in Vegas to be fully behind them. That’s why the Raiders have a community events team in Vegas and why they are planning on having some sort of outreach event at least once a week.
“It’s time consuming and it takes a lot of effort, but we’ve got a really good (community events) team,” Badain said “They’ve hired a number of people here, and we still have the team on the ground in Oakland.”
They are attempting to prove they can have a presence in both Oakland and Las Vegas now, which suggest they could do it in both cities after they leave too. The question is will they? We wont know the answer for at least a couple years, but I hope so. Oakland will deserve the community outreach after the Raiders are gone just as much as they need it now with them here still.