Anchorage Senior Activity Center achieves National Accreditation

Congratulations to the Anchorage Senior Activity Center for achieving National Senior Center Accreditation on March 31, 2016!

The Anchorage Senior Activity Center is a not for profit multi-purpose center located in a suburban area of Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska, with a population of just over 300,000. In fact, about 40% of Alaska’s population lives in Anchorage. It is home to a large joint military base, health care, and, although it is not the State Capital, it is the central location for many state offices. Because of its geographical location, it is a major hub for air cargo including Fed Ex. Tourism is also a major industry and the oil industry is a driving force.

Incorporated in 1981, the Center is managed by AnchorAge, Inc. and does business as the Anchorage Senior Activity Center. The Anchorage Senior Activity Center enhances the quality of life for people 50+ years old in the Anchorage area by providing a gathering place, with opportunities for recreation, education, socializing, and exploration.

The municipally owned facility is 30,000 square feet and sits on 5 acres of land. The Center is well supported by the city with funding (about a third of their budget) and facility maintenance. Other funding sources include state funds, dues and fees, fundraising, sales and proceeds, and endowment funds. The Center is easily accessible and is served by public transit and Anchor-Rides, a special transportation service for seniors operated by the municipality and funded by the Older Americans Act.

The Center itself is open and inviting. There is a large foyer or gathering space with a domed glass ceiling. The Center features include a large aerobics studio, a library, separate arts, quilting and craft rooms, the Starlight Ballroom (which can be rented for events) that can be broken into three separate rooms including the Arctic Rose Café that serves a daily lunch, a billiard room, a computer room and other meeting rooms. There is ample office space and adequate storage space.

ASAC has 2,196 members and a daily attendance of approximately 250. The Center has a good array of programs. Their fitness Center is large, with separate rooms for cardio equipment and for weights. They also offer a broad assortment of fitness classes that continue to attract new participants. They have excellent arts programs and an entire room devoted to quilting with a large quilting machine. Volunteers are integrally involved in the Center and are responsible for several areas including the gift shop, the art classes, the quilting program and the library.

One best practice recognized by the reviewer is a recently developed senior center commercial about their center. It was produced by Summit Day Media. See the video!

This is the Senior Centers’ second National Senior Center Accreditation.

The peer reviewer found the following strengths of the Anchorage Senior Activity Center:

• Excellent program array
• Robust continuum of fitness options
• Well qualified and committed Board
• Well supported and valued by Municipality of Anchorage, solid relationship
• Good strategic plan and marketing plan
• Director has unique skillset that will benefit Center, especially in current fiscal climate
• Strong volunteer base
• Beautiful, large facility
• Craft and arts programs have great space and committed volunteers
• Library is impressive, honor system makes it accessible, interesting collection of Alaska materials

For thirty-five years the Anchorage Senior Activity Center has sought excellence in providing opportunities for older adults. They have included National Senior Center Accreditation as an integral part of their strategy. Learn how the National Senior Center Standards and self-assessment process can help you achieve excellence at your center.