Cultivating the spirit of the Y in Nevada’s largest city, Larry K. (BS ’87) and Tracey Bates Long (BS ’86) lead the Las Vegas alumni chapter, which serves an area that includes more than 6,000 alumni and several hundred BYU students. And when it comes to building school spirit, the Longs start with the chapter’s youngest members: brand-new freshmen.
The chapter sponsors an event for freshman where new students enjoy food, activities, and a question-and-answer session with current students. “We want students to know we have an active Alumni Association chapter early on,” Tracey says.
“We want them to get a taste of the great BYU experience and enjoy the spirit of the Y,” Larry says.
The chapter not only is a resource for new students but also serves alumni and the community. The chapter presents community service awards to local business owners who exemplify the core values taught at BYU. In the fall the chapter sponsors a Rex E. Lee Golf Tournament, the proceeds of which help fund 12 scholarships every year for BYU students from Las Vegas.
The chapter also hosts BYU performances. “Every time a BYU performing group passes through Vegas, we can fill a theater,” Tracey says. Each of the 22 Las Vegas stakes has a representative that keeps in contact with the chapter to disseminate information about upcoming events.
“Reaching out to the community through awards, activities, and performances is a way to share the spirit of the Y in Las Vegas,” Tracey says.
“We have a loyal following here, and we see ourselves as BYU’s second home court,” Larry says. The Longs’ dedication to creating an energetic chapter has even been noted by their 3-year-old son, Benjamin, Tracey says. The young boy has developed his own version of the ABC song: “A-B-C-D-B-Y-U.”