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'Anchor Open' set to benefit The Anchorage

Keith Gaines, executive director of The Anchorage.

Keith Gaines, executive director of The Anchorage.

ALBANY, Ga. -- In order to support its growing needs, an area substance abuse rehabilitation facility will host two major fundraisers in the next year.

One of them is Anchor Fest, a fall event which consists of musical performances from area churches, with the new addition being a golf tournament.

The golf tournament, dubbed "Anchor Open," is taking place May 14 to benefit The Anchorage, a non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of men whose lives have been ravaged by alcohol or drug addiction.

The tournament, which is being formatted as a four-person scramble, will take place at Doublegate Country Club at 3800 Old Dawson Road. Lunch will be at noon, with a 1 p.m. tee time.

The handicap system for the United States Golf Association will be applied, officials say. There will be some hole-in-one prizes, including $10,000 and a 2012 Honda EXVL from Albany Honda valued at $30,000.

A $100 entry fee is required to participate. Checks should be made payable to "The Anchorage" with "Golf" on the memo line.

Officials said they are limited to the first 22 teams, which adds up to 88 players. As of Friday afternoon, there were 14 teams signed up, Gaines said.

"You can sign up as individuals or as teams," Keith Gaines, executive director of The Anchorage, said. "You will be put with a team if you sign up as an individual.

"Players are urged to get in registration as soon as possible."

The goal for the event is to raise $15,000, which will go toward operating expenses for the facility -- which houses roughly 50 men, Gaines said.

The completed form can be submitted with the fee to The Anchorage, P.O. Box 71774, Albany, Ga., 31708. The form can also be sent in person to the facility's main office at 162 Hampton Lane in Leesburg.

Officials say they are still in need for hole sponsors as well as other prize sponsors. For more information, call (229) 435-5692 or visit www.anchoropen.com.

Gaines, who came on board as the facility's director last year, said The Anchorage would continue its overall mission of providing substance abuse rehab in a faith-based environment -- but that there are some changes coming.

Specifically, he said officials are working on an outcome measurement system to better track and verify the program's effectiveness.

"We are able to say that the vast majority who start the program complete the program, but that doesn't estimate outcomes," the executive director said. "This way, when there are changes or updates, we will know if they are effective."

Also, one of the most immediate changes Gaines said he wished to implement was the establishment of a family component into the program.

"This will assist family members and how they can help (during the recovery process)," he said. "Often times, it is thought that as long as the drinking and using has stopped, everything is fine.

"The fact is, the dynamics (of relationships) change when the men are (no longer) using. The success will depend on how families make changes and improvements. Recovery is about the change of lifestyles and relationships."

The concept of involving family members in the process is something Gaines said he hopes will be brought in by a new clinical director who will be replacing the current clinical director, Dudley Thomas, who is retiring, the executive director said.

In his retirement, Thomas is still expected to be working in a part-time position at The Anchorage, Gaines added.

As far as facilities are concerned, Gaines said there are no immediate plans for expansion -- but that there is the hope of eventually adding a multipurpose area with classroom space, as well as possibly adding a treatment component for women.

In addition to that, there are talks of establishing a second campus to separate after-care clients from those still in the first phase of the program.

"It is a challenge to keep the two separate in the same facility," Gaines said.

Gaines also said that, since his coming on board, there has been a change in the spiritual care program so that the executive director is now serving in the capacity of the spiritual director.