September Newsletter 2020


Dear Hills Members,

I wholeheartedly hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. If a pandemic wasn't enough, our area was hit with spontaneous lightning/thunderstorms and poor air quality for a good amount of August due to wildfires throughout the state. We hope that the worst of it has passed and extend deep sympathy to anyone who may have been personally affected by the storms and/or fires the past few weeks.

The entire staff has been very busy, as we continue to offer as many outdoors programs as possible within county guidelines and simultaneously work tirelessly to provide the cleanest, safest version of The Hills Swim & Tennis Club. Club attendance during this past month of August nearly matched last year's August 2019 total which is absolutely amazing and a tremendous recognition toward the hard working staff.

Announcements of changes and new additions happening during this month of September.
  • We are changing our club hours to the following, effective Tuesday, September 8th:
    Monday- Friday: 5am-10pm
    Saturday-Sunday: 7am-9pm
  • We are making the Diving Well (Deep End) of the Lap Pool available to be reserved. This will be reservable beginning Tuesday, September 8th for the first day of use being Friday, September 11th. Reservations can be made by an individual or by a family. No children under the age of 10 can be in the Diving Well. Children ages 10-13 must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Anyone 14 years and older is allowed to be in the Diving Well alone, but we do advise to rent or bring your own float belt. For information regarding renting a float belt please contact the front desk or Group Exercise Director Angelique Pine ([email protected]).
  • We have created an "add on" within our reservation based system to give members the opportunity to become "Early Reservers" for all pool/lap lane reservations. To become an Early Reserver please contact Accounting Manager, Stefani McDermott ([email protected]) or the Front Desk. Early Reserver prices are $50/month for Family memberships, $30/month for Single memberships. Early Reservers will get the "window" of 6am-9am to make their reservations (all reservations continue to become available three days in advance). Then, at 9am daily, all remaining reservation slots will open up for reservation to all members. Because the month of September has already begun, any members who sign up for this add on will be prorated for the remainder of this month.

Successes in August:

  • We extended Kids Summer Camp into Afternoon Fall Camp for four weeks. Camp Director Anthony Lum and Camp Counselor Mitch Curtis have done a commendable job offering creative and innovative activities to their groups and continue to do so as I type this. Camp staff will take a much needed break the week of September 14-18. More information regarding Fall Afternoon Camps extending to later in September and into October can be found below in the "Camp" section of this newsletter.
  • Personal Training sessions are gaining popularity outdoors. Feel free to reach out to Nick ([email protected]) or Jeff ([email protected]) if you need more information.
  • Tennis lessons are seeing an increase in demand as well, both private and semi-private. Please reach out to Maaria ([email protected]) or Eddie ([email protected]) for more information.
  • Pilates private sessions have been a huge hit and are being held outside by Therese and staff on the balcony of the Peak Fit Studio. For more information email Therese ([email protected]).
  • Swim lessons have been in huge demand, both private or semi-private. Feel free to reach out to Aquatics Director, Shad Wojtala ([email protected]) for more information. Shout out to coaches Koung, Jenny, and Danny who have all been awesome with managing the surge in swim lesson demand!

The club continues to operate as best and with as much available as possible during these challenging times. For the month of September we will be billing 85% of monthly member dues. We will continue to think and plan creatively to ensure that your Hills experience remains first class.

Thank you for your continued loyalty and support to the club. Stay safe, healthy and happy!

Video Update from Nick on Friday 9.4.2020 can be found here:

Available: *Current Contra Costa County Guidelines continue to apply
Lap Lane Swimming by reservation (reserve through the front desk, online, or on our app) Family/Recreational Pool by reservation (reserve through the front desk, online, or on our app)
Diving Well/Deep End of Lap Pool by reservation (reserve through the front desk, online, or on our app) *reservations to begin Tuesday 9/8, reservation use to begin Friday 9/11*
Outdoor Gym in the six Cabanas by reservation (reserve through the front desk, online, or on our app)
Tennis Courts by reservation (reserve through the front desk, online, or on our app)
Pickleball by reservation (reserve through the front desk, online, or on our app)
Kids Camps contact Camp Director Anthony Lum for more information [email protected]
Outdoor Tae Kwon Do Classes contact Jeff Allen for more information [email protected]
Hills Hurricane Swim Team Camps contact Aquatics Director Shad Wojtala for information [email protected]
Outdoor Group Exercise Classes (Virtual Zoom classes continue to be provided as well)
Virtual Peak Fit Class Contact Peak Fit Coordinator Jennie Votel [email protected]
Outdoor Private Pilates Training contact Pilates Director Therese Brewitz for more info [email protected]
Outdoor Personal Training contact Nick [email protected] or Jeff Allen [email protected]
Swim Lessons private and semi private, contact Aquatics Director Shad Wojtala for information [email protected]
Manta Rays and Tidal Waves Swim Classes contact Aquatics Director Shad Wojtala for information [email protected]

Unavailable: *County is yet to lift restrictions
Indoor Gym (Fitness Center)
Peak Fit Studio
Locker Rooms Available for toilet and sink use only. Please inform the front desk if you need to get something from your locker.
Hot Tubs
Child Care
Ping Pong
Back Deck


Important Message from the Billing Department


Some of you have reached out to request a paper bill or have inquired as to why you haven't received a bill for the past few months. We stopped sending out statements when we were ordered to close the club, and our decision was based on how the system was posting the credits (or discounts) to member accounts. Had we prompted the system to send them, the balance due would not have been accurate. So instead of sending the statements following monthly billing, we sent an email explanation to all members, and apologize if for some reason you did not receive the email.

Rather than wait for a statement (either by regular mail or email), we are now asking members to log in to your member profile to view your current balance.

Here are the instructions to access your member portal. If you follow these steps, you should have no problem logging in...

  1. Go to and click "Member Login" at the top
  2. Click "Access My Account" on the bottom of the screen
  3. Provide your name and email address. It must be the same email address as the club has for you.
  4. Go to your email on your phone or computer and click the link it sent
  5. Provide a password (Note: you may also have to provide an emergency contact or missing info)
  6. Install "The Hills Swim & Tennis Club" App on your phone (Note: before accessing the app on your phone, you MUST set up your online member portal!)
  7. Log in with your email and password (same one you created for your member portal)

Our sincerest apologies for any confusion this might have caused. As we continue to operate as a "reservation-based" club, it is now more important than ever to have online access to your member portal, whether it be for billing issues or reservations!

Kind regards,

- Stefani McDermott
Administrative & Accounting Manager


Fall Camp Gives Kids a "Break" from Online Learning


Our Kids Camp was such a huge success this summer that we extended it into the Fall months and are wrapping up our third successful week. Due to the strict county guidelines, we had to make major changes from years' past. Instead of offering a full-day camp with options for both before and after care, we offered half-day camps. We also had to limit the number of campers to 12 per "cohort" or group. In the end, your happy campers all were able to get out of the house and enjoy a safe, clean and fun environment!

Upcoming Fall camp sessions will cost $200 per child per week (Monday through Friday, 2-6pm), and will take place during the following weeks:

  • September 7-11
  • September 21-25
  • September 28-October 2
  • October 5-9
  • October 12-16

NOTE: There are 24 slots available per session; two groups consisting of 12 kids each.


If you are interested in registering your kids for upcoming Fall Camps, please go log into your online member portal. In the left hand column, click on the button "Register for Programs" and it is there where you will find camp registration.

Please direct any camp questions to Anthony Lum, Camp Director, [email protected]


Hills Aquatics Makes Full Use of The Pool


Lap Lane Swimming Rules:

  • Children ages 10+ can share a lane with a parent or household guardian for a 30-min reservation
  • If you arrive early for your reservation and a lane is free, feel free to start swimming early. Similarly, if your reservation ends and a lane is still available, feel free to swim a little longer. Both occurrences need to be cleared by the pool monitor before beginning.
  • Making a reservation and then not showing up and/or failure to cancel the reservation could be subject to a penalty fee on the account if it continues to happen.

Family Rec Pool Rules:

  • 30-minute maximum per day per person/family
  • All children under 14 years old needs a parent or guardian present and attentive to them
  • Please show courtesy and respect to whomever has the opposite side reservation
  • Swim toys, floaties, noodles can be brought and used, so long as they are used appropriately and are not shared with others

Please Note: Hills Hurricane Swim Team will be using no more than 4 lanes from 4-8pm, Monday-Friday.

Diving Well (Deep End) Pool Rules:

  • Reservable beginning Tuesday, September 8th for the first day of use being Friday, September 11th.
  • Reservations can be made by an individual or by a family.
  • No children under the age of 10 can be in the Diving Well. Children ages 10-13 must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Anyone 14 years and older is allowed to be in the Diving Well alone, but we do advise to rent or bring your own float belt.
  • For information regarding renting a float belt please contact the front desk or Group Exercise Director Angelique Pine ([email protected]).


Private & Semi-Private Swim Lessons for All Ages


Swim Instructor Koung works on stroke technique with Hills member

Swim lessons are available for all members, either private or semi private. Currently, the swim lessons are taught by an instructor that remains on the pool deck (county guidelines). We cannot offer in-water instruction at this time. We are allowing a guardian to be in the pool with beginner swimmers that might need assistance during the lesson. If interested, please contact Aquatics Director Shad Wojtala, [email protected] or visit our website for rates and more.


Tennis Anyone? Courts Open; Lessons Available for All Ages


Tennis courts continue to be available and have been getting much more use the past few months. Reminder that under the current county guidelines, singles play can be done with members of different households, but doubles play remains only available to people of the same household. Members can make a 1-hour reservation for tennis per day.

For those members who are looking for some tennis instruction, please feel free to reach out to Hills Tennis Instructors, Eddie Pasternak, [email protected] or Maaria Husain, [email protected].

Safe Lesson Guidelines for Tennis During COVID

  1. Lessons will be limited to private or semi-private until further notice.
  2. All social distancing protocols must be followed at all times. Masks are not necessary on court but please wear when you enter and exit the tennis court.
  3. Tennis pro will wear a mask when within 6 feet of students.
  4. Wash/sterilize your hands before and after you play, avoid touching your face while playing, before and after eating, after going to the restroom, sneezing and coughing.
  5. Bring a water bottle with you to lessons.
  6. Cover coughs and sneezes and dispose of any used tissue immediately.
  7. If you should touch any part of the court with your hands, immediately use hand sanitizer.
  8. Leave the court at the end of lesson time to allow for court cleaning and limit interaction between students arriving/departing.
  9. Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after exiting court.
  10. Clean all personal tennis items with alcohol-based disinfectant including racquets, towels, and grips after play.


Pickleball: A Sport That Continues to Gain Popularity


Pickleball is a very fun activity that shouldn't be overlooked here at the club. For those of you who have not yet given it a try, it is best described as a combination of tennis, badminton and table tennis (or ping pong). The rules are pretty simple and the game is for all ages and skill levels and is easy for beginners to learn. If you are comfortable playing any of the aforementioned paddle sports, the game will most likely become a fast-paced competitive game. It's really up to you; make it fun and social or highly competitive. Bottom line: it's a great excuse to come up to the club and get some exercise. And don't be surprised if you give it a try and find it to be your new favorite sport! 

Reminder that just like tennis, under the current county guidelines, singles play can be done with members of different households, but doubles play remains only available to people of the same household. Members can make a 1-hour reservation for pickleball per day.



Discover Your Own 'Sisu' Through Pilates


Finland winter landscape…'sisu' is a Finnish word we all can use these days!


Dear Hills Members:

I hope this note finds you well during these challenging times! Last year I decided to get my 23andMe-results to learn about my DNA and heritage. It turns out that I am 82% Swedish (no surprise, I was born and raised there) and 18% Finnish! This made me both curious and proud and I wanted to learn more about my Finnish background and in particular, about the Finnish term, sisu.

'Sisu' in Finnish means strength, perseverance in a task that for some may seem crazy to undertake, almost hopeless. Sisu is not momentary courage but the ability to sustain that courage.

Doesn't that sound amazing?
The thing is, I don't think that you have to be Finnish to HAVE sisu. All of us carry this ability inside of us, although we call it different things: resilience, grit, etc. While many associate sisu with rugged Finnish athletes outdoing their competition in the Olympics, like legendary runner Paavo Nurmi, it is the Finnish people who throughout history have had to reach for their sisu to survive hardship and to gain independence. And I think that the times we live in right now are requiring all of us to find and tap into our own sisu in order to persevere and thrive.

But what does Pilates have to do with sisu?
Pilates is a fitness tool, but it is also a way of relating to our own body and to our own selves. Pilates builds your core - and a strong core is just like having sisu, a strong center that cannot easily be toppled. When we work our core our vocal cords also get stronger(!), our joints have more support, our stamina and endurance increases, our posture improves, and perhaps most importantly, our mood and confidence is lifted.

In my own life, Pilates and sisu have carried me through shaky times with illness and injury and also through some athletic pursuits that "may seem crazy to undertake, almost hopeless!" I am not unique in this at all as every week we see clients in our Pilates program who live this reality; they do Pilates to overcome, to succeed and to feel better, and they demonstrate remarkable grit and good humor through injuries and life challenges. Many of our students find that they need Pilates now more than ever.

Our Pilates program offers many paths to discovering your own sisu. This month Bruce is doing outdoor Barre training that is a phenomenal overall workout, Barbara is teaching the popular Chair Pilates over Zoom, and Anne is working our core and repairing our shoulders over Zoom. You can also train one-on-one on the Pilates equipment on our outdoor deck. Whatever you choose to do - we wish you a happy and healthy fall with lots of sisu!

- Pilates Director Therese Brewitz and the Hills Pilates and Wellness Team

Contact our studio: [email protected]



Barre "master" and Pilates Instructor Bruce Arana & Pilates Director Therese Brewitz bring the Barre outside!

The Barre is now open with Bruce:

Come train with Barre "master" and Pilates Instructor Bruce Arana on the Hills lawn. This class is uniquely designed for a small and dedicated group for 6 or less students, using the ballet barre and props (please bring your own light weights, mini ball, and small loop band, (see link to list of props below). Bruce promises this workout to be low impact, high intensity using intricate movements. The class includes safe distancing, precision, and supervision.

Barre training was developed from the rigorous exercise at the barre and building a strong ballet body with a supple core and glutes, and with great posture and balance. Bruce teaches a fun class with a great soundtrack and good energy that is sure to bring a smile on your face. He is also offering private lessons in Pilates and barre, contact our studio for more information.

Outdoor barre class will be offered Tuesdays at 9am on the Hills lawn, beginning 9/8
Cost: $20/class
Register online:

Please note our Pilates training safety guidelines: http://pilates-safety-guidelines


Our Zoom Pilates Program:

Enroll in our Zoom studio classes online:
Once enrolled you will receive a Zoom link and a passcode. Please contact our studio with any questions: [email protected]

  1. Pilates Instructor Barbara Hoffer is offering a fun and creative chair Pilates class on Tuesdays at 5pm. Don't be fooled, this is a real workout! 45 min class, $15
    Here is a snippet from a recent Chair class with Barbara:
  2.  Pilates Instructor Anne Mawdsley is teaching a class that is sure to hit home with all of us computer addicts: Happy Shoulders and Core on Tuesdays at 10 am, (Please note the new time) 55min, $20
    This class dedicates 20 minutes to careful shoulder rehab, plus core strengthening to support correct alignment. Small props needed: 1-2 lb hand weights, flex band, and a foam roller
    Learn how to work out your shoulder correctly with Anne:
  3.  Pilates Fundamentals with Pilates Instructor Colleen McLarnon. Get fit on the mat using weights, flex bands and lots of energy. Especially suited for our regular Pilates reformer students who miss the strength benefits and rigor of the Pilates equipment.
    Thursdays at 5pm, 55 min, $20

For all Pilates programs: you will find your list of recommended Pilates props here that you can use in class and on our own: http://pilates-props

Follow us on Instagram:


Fall is a Great Time to Try Our Group Exercise Classes


Our outdoor group exercise classes are popular among Hills members!

As usual, there is good and bad news. First the good: Our online and outdoor group fitness program continues to be well attended. The new Zoom schedule allows members to find a class based on time rather than club, and I am happy to report that our members are exploring new classes. The other California Athletic Clubs love seeing members from The Hills, so if the smoke in the air continues, perhaps this is the week to try a new Zoom class. The poor air quality in the Bay area has forced many of us inside, and sadly we have had to cancel some outdoor fitness classes last minute. We appreciate your patience, and apologize for the inconvenience. Our team is constantly monitoring the readouts to attempt to make an informed decision, but there are times when we can't accurately assess until the morning of class. We have encouraged our instructors to attempt to offer modifications whenever possible, in order to ensure the health and well being for all. So at times, your fitness class may be shortened or reduced intensity. The cancellations you experienced last week were ultimately the decision of the instructor, and The Hills supports their concerns for health. In the future, we are working on offering some of the cancelled classes on Zoom, and those invitations will be provided as needed.

- Angelique Pine, Group Exercise Director


Hills Personal Trainers Can Help You With Your Fitness Goals


Outdoor personal training sessions are now available. Feel free to reach out to Nick, [email protected] or Jeff Allen, [email protected] for rates or to set up an appointment.


Peak Fit Director Stresses Daily Self Care


Back to school already??? We just had graduation:) The photo is of my family from my 8th grader's recent graduation celebration in August. It seems way too soon to be back to school. I usually think of the Fall as the best time to get MY schedule back in order. Most years I have a little more free time when the kids get back to their school schedules, but HELLO! We are still in 2020 when nothing seems to be as it should be! This month I am focusing on keeping a little time carved out for myself everyday, even if it means waking up at 5am...because there is always something else to do; fold laundry, walk dogs, help with school work, grocery shop, actually work and the list goes on. It is so important to make sure you take care of yourself in these demanding times. The Hills has great options with the pool, the outdoor gyms, and so many outdoor and zoom classes... claim your time for self care so you can recharge for everyone else!

We are introducing TRX classes this month on the pickleball court, Fridays at 8am. These small, specialized classes are limited to a group of 4-6 members with the goal of each participant committing to every Friday session of the month. The first session will be held September 11. Classes will be sold on a per-month basis and pricing will vary per month. The cost for September is $45. Please contact me ASAP if you are interested.

Take care of yourselves! Hope to see you soon!

- Jennie Votel, Peak Fit Director
[email protected]


Celebrate September Employee Birthdays 


Please join us in wishing each of them a happy birthday and thanking them for all of their hard work!

Koung Chaiyasane, 09/05
Maaria Husain, 09/19
Colleen McLarnon, 09/20
Bruce Arana, 09/21
Leo Juarez, 09/28