Lake Oswego's Adult Community Center is inviting the public to a party next week to commemorate the center's accreditation from the National Council on Aging.
The celebration, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 23, will mark the second time the ACC has been accredited by the organization and caps off a year-and-a-half-long process of careful documentation and review. The ACC joins a list of just over 120 senior centers nationwide that have been certified by the NCOA.
"It forces you to look at what you need to have happen," says ACC Manager Ann Adrian, "and it makes you focus on your strategic plan."
The Lake Oswego center was founded in 1970 and has long been a mainstay in the First Addition neighborhood. But in 2010, Adrian and her staff decided to take the center to the next level by going through the NCOA accreditation process. The staff had to document 88 different checkpoints to meet the nine overall standards of accreditation, a rigorous process that required a team of volunteers (known as "The A-Team") to work with staff to see it through.
Adrian says the dedication of the volunteers was a big part of why the ACC decided to seek a renewal of its accreditation in 2015. The first round of work laid the foundation for the second accreditation process, she says, and several of the original team members returned to help out again.
"We had kept on going because of the people who were on the first accreditation (team)," she says. "They were so enthusiastic."
Adrian says it was also an "easy decision" to renew because of the benefits that the first accreditation brought to the ACC. The certification process resulted in better operations and a more coherent plan for the future, she says, and being nationally recognized enabled the center to qualify for as much as $20,000 in additional grant funding that it might not have otherwise been able to get.
The ACC was evaluated by representatives from the board of the National Institute for Senior Centers, which is run by the NCOA. Those board members unanimously approved the accreditation on April 27.
Next week's event is a celebration, Adrian says, but it will also serve as a great introduction to the ACC for any community members who haven't visited before. The center offers everything from a regular lunch service and special dinners to dances, movie nights, day trips, fitness classes and support groups.
Visitors to the ACC regularly gather to quilt or play bridge, mah jongg or pinochle. There are conversations about aging, legal presentations and a Learning and Technology Group that hosts a variety of speakers. One recent event included both teenagers and seniors in an effort to foster a conversation between generations.
ACC ambassadors Art Martin and Pat and Art Henderson will be on hand May 23, Adrian says, to offer tours for both newcomers and longtime
visitors who want to learn more.
"It's a big invitation to come on in and check us out," she says. "See what sets us apart and find out more about our classes and volunteer opportunities."
Adrian says the free event is being dedicated to Gene Arnold, a volunteer on the first accreditation team, who passed away in 2016. It will begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday with a welcome from Mayor Kent Studebaker, followed by ice cream from Mobile Scoop —vanilla bean, coffee almond fudge and hazelnut salted caramel, as well as several varieties of Italian Ice. Other food options will include ACC chef Sara Schrader's Champagne Raspberry cakes and a selection of sweet treats at a "candy bar."
A slow-jam group will provide music from 2:30-4 p.m., and guests will be able to try their hand at a variety of activities, including Plinko, an ACC trivia competition and a Boomer/Greatest Generation quiz, both of which feature a chance to win a $50 gift card. The contests will be scored at 3:30 p.m., with winners announced at 3:45 p.m.
The accreditation itself only lasts for five years, so the staff will soon have to begin work on documentation for the next accreditation renewal in 2022. But the process is able to build off of prior runs, and Adrian says each time has resulted in even more growth and improvement at the center, so she's eager to get started.
For the moment, though, staff and volunteers are taking the time to savor the achievement. The ACC held a similar event to celebrate its first accreditation, but Adrian says the staff hopes to outdo themselves this time.
"This one, I'm hoping, will be a little bigger because we've gotten the word out," Adrian says. "I want to run out of ice cream."
Lake Oswego's Adult Community Center is located at 505 G Ave. For more information, call 503-635-3758 or go to www.ci.oswego.or.us/acc.
IF YOU GO
What: Accrediation party and ice cream social
Where: Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Ave.
When: Tuesday, May 23; the party starts at 2 p.m.
More information: Call 503-635-3758 or go to www.ci.oswego.or.us/acc.