All posts by Gareth Patterson

Fee Increase FAQ

Why are the fees going up?

The short answer is “because we need to.”

What if I want the long answer?

There are many expenses in running a swim club and team and maintaining the facilities here at Ygnacio Wood. Most of those expenses are hard costs (i.e. Coach salaries, lifeguards, PG&E, water bills, maintenance, etc) and don’t fluctuate with the number of members we have. So when our headcount stays flat or goes down our registration fees don’t cover the bills.

In 2014 our club membership had dropped and our swim team had shrunk to 88 swimmers, which is a nearly unsustainable number for a swim team of our type. This happens for a variety of reasons: the demographic of the neighborhood, the number of kids in the area and the ages of the swimmers. Some seasons we have lots of new families in the neighborhood, others we don’t. And sometimes families have team-aged kids, and other times there are younger kids.

A good example is our 6 & Under age group for swim team. In recent years we were lucky to have 6-8 swimmers total. In the past 2 years we have had 45 swimmers under age 8. That speaks volumes about how our members feel about the team (Go Ygnacio!) as they have been recruiting their friends to join. AND it is encouraging for the future of the team, as a large percentage of those swimmers will stay with the team through high school.

So for the 2015 season, we tried something new. The idea was to reduce fees and (hopefully) see a significant increase in membership. And guess what? It worked! We added 41 new team members (which was a net increase of 27 due to attrition). But also in 2015 we had to resurface the pool and perform other needed repairs. This came with a $105,000 price tag. (Check it out here!) We are currently carrying a $60,000 loan, with $1,000 per month in payments.

Unfortunately, we did not see any net growth in 2016. As a result, the Board of Directors determined that we needed to adjust our fees to cover our costs. The 2017 budget assumes zero net growth, and still runs a small deficit.

What’s the good news?

There is GOOD news! The increase in our fees for 2017 are still LOWER than what they were back in 2014. And we are on a better financial footing.

How about fundraising?  Can that help close the deficit?

We have received mixed feedback about fundraising. Some families love the idea and are “all in” with both volunteering to help and also raising/spending money. But on the reverse side, some folks feel “nickel and dimed” when asked to participate in the various fundraisers we offer. Both views are equally valid and it’s always a dance to figure out the balance of fee structure vs. fundraising.

In addition, fundraising is a moving target…we can’t know each year how much we will raise. It’s tough to manage a budget when you can’t forecast a good chunk of the income.

In 2016, our fees only covered 60% of the cost of operating the club and team, leaving 40% of the budget dependent on fundraising. We had two major fundraisers. There was only 33% participation in the lap-a-thon. And at the auction last year, 90% of the money raised was spent by only 10% of our members.  What that tells us is that we need to lower our dependence on fundraising. So for 2017 we will still rely on fundraising, but at a lower rate – around 25-30% of our budget.

Will we grow in 2017?

We don’t know… and that’s a tough issue. With Valley Vista Swim Team shutting down, we expect to see some new members. But we can’t be sure and we can’t build our budget around an expected increase that may not happen.

We rely on our membership (that’s you!) to bring new members in… we grow almost entirely by word-of-mouth.  So if you love Ygnacio Wood then spread the word and recruit your friends!

How do our fees compare to other local clubs?

We also did an analysis of the cost of teams in the area, based on 2016 fees.  We now fit in the middle… some teams are less (two have a very low teaser, first-year rate or are local, small neighborhood only team) and many clubs cost much more.

Do we have any other sources of funds?

We are an owner-operated swim club.  We own the site, and the pool.  And we get most of our funding from our membership.  We have no Home-Owner’s Association funds.

We do have some fantastic supporters between our sponsors and some neighbors who have watched us grow over the past 51 years!

How many members are there at our club?

In 2016 we had a total of 105 families as members of our club. About half of those had kids on the swim team.

How much does the swim club & team make?

Zero… zilch!  We are a non-profit and we are currently running a modest deficit.  We need to get back to a modest surplus.

Our club costs a lot to run… it is just the nature of a swimming pool.  We need to spend $8,000 on a new heater and to fix a leak in the baby pool before the season starts.  We spent $105,000 resurfacing the pool 2-years ago.  We also recently purchased new pool covers & lane lines for over $4,000 and a new timing system for over $4,500.

The only salaries paid or compensation given is to our coaching staff, lifeguards, and our sea pony coordinator.  We pay small stipends to volunteer teen coaches (in our sea pony program) at the end of the season.

Club and team board members and all volunteers receive NO compensation, nor any discounts on fees.  In 2017, we might pay people to work jobs, using funds we receive from members who pay to opt-out of jobs.

We also need to be focused on building a capital improvement fund. Over the next few years, our pool deck and the fencing will need some work done. In addition, we need to grow the fund to cover maintenance items in the years to come.

What’s this Gatekeeper job?

Actually, the gatekeeper job was around for a long time. We discontinued it a few years back when our membership was really low and we needed folks to volunteer for other jobs.

For many reasons the Board has decided to reinstate the gatekeeper job. All members are required to work four 2-hour shifts. The gatekeeper sits at the desk near the front gate. They are responsible for checking in everyone who comes to swim during club hours. This way we ensure that only members are using the facility.

In addition, having a gatekeeper means there will be someone available to answer the phone, answer questions, sell day-passes and sell items from our snack shack. And most importantly, for those times when we have only one lifeguard on duty, the presence of a gatekeeper offers extra security when there is no one else around. There was an incident at a nearby pool last year where a lifeguard, who was alone at their facility, was assaulted. While all the other reasons are important, the safety of our lifeguards is paramount.

What if I can’t or don’t want to work Gatekeeper jobs?

You can hire someone to work for you! We are assembling a list of neighbors who are willing to cover your shifts. The cost is $10/hour. You are required to contact someone from the list and confirm that they will work your shift(s).  You can also opt out of your club jobs (Gatekeeper and other club jobs) for $175.

Can you help me with fees?  This increase is too much for my family to handle.

We want to make sure all families that want to swim at our facility can do so.  We can help you distribute payments over the season.  Our job worker list is an excellent opportunity to work jobs (both team and club) and be paid for it.

For families that have extreme financial hardship should reach out to  Gareth at or Garrett at

Why we changed fees and jobs in 2017

Since the beginning, we’ve prided ourselves on running a great swim team and club at a fantastic price within the community.  It is important that we don’t overcharge, but it is also important that we maintain a quality facility and team.  We’ve been doing so for 50-years.

Our budget is always tight – we aren’t here to make a profit – and we rely heavily on donations, fundraising and sponsorship to make ends meet.  We’ve found that a small percentage of the membership ends up donating most of these additional funds.

So, in 2017 we are increasing fees to be more in line with other teams in the area, and reducing our overall fundraising goals, though we still require families to meet individual fundraising goals.  Our new fees page is here.

The biggest non-financial change for 2017 is the return of the “gate keeper” job.  This job is common to other clubs, and existed at Ygnacio Wood prior to 5-years ago.  The objective is to provide a level of security at our facility (and our life guards), and be certain that only members are entering the facility.  It will also allow us to have more flexibility for new members, part time members and a more complete snack shack.

These changes will improve our ability to continue to provide an excellent community and swim team experience for the next 50-years.

For details on registering, click here.


Fees, Fundraising and Jobs for 2017

The Ygnacio Wood Swim Team is part of the Ygnacio Wood Swim Club.  All team members are members of the club, with varying benefits.

In 2017, we are making changes to our fee and job structure. All members, new and old are encouraged to read and understand. If you have any questions, please reach out to Gareth Patterson at or Garrett Shelley at .

Club Membership & Jobs

Club memberships are required to use the pool facilities for any reason.  Many families use this excellent community resource for fun, exercise or just a place to hang out.  Many other families are members in our 47-year old  swim team.

2017 Change – Starting in 2017 season, we will see the return of the gate-keeper job.  In order to provide additional security and safety at our pool, and to ensure only members are using the facilities, we require most members to provide  gate-keeping duties.

Full Club Membership

A full season of access to the club and all club activities for you and your family.

Five 2-hour shifts of club jobs – that may include gatekeeping or other jobs.

NEW Member Full Club Membership

A full season of access to the club and all club activities for you and your family.

Five 2-hour shifts of club jobs – that may include gatekeeping or other jobs.

Associate Club Membership

Access to the club during swim team activities (meets, practices, fun events) only.

One 2-hour shifts of club jobs – that may include gatekeeping or other jobs.

Retired Club Membership

Full club access to retired, adult-only members in our community where one family member is older than 60-years old.

Two 2-hour shifts of club jobs – that may include gatekeeping or other jobs.

Teen Club Membership

Full club access to teen swim team members only.  Not for family use.

Two 2-hour shifts of club jobs – that may include gatekeeping or other jobs.


You may opt-out of all club jobs for a fee of $175.   A job-exchange is being established, where you can arrange someone to work the job for you for $10/hour.  You are still responsible for the hours, and are subject to penalties of $20/hour if the job is not performed.

Team Fees

Fees to belong to the Ygnacio Wood Swim Team are based on the age and number of children swimming.

As a swim team member, fees to our league championship and all dual meets are included.  However, you are responsible for the meet entry fees for all other large meets (City, Dana Hills, Crossing, Woodlands). *See “splash fees” below.

For swimmers under the age of 15, you are required to have a paid CLUB membership (see above) also.

First Under-15 Swimmer per Family
Second Under-15 Swimmer per Family
Third Under-15 Swimmer per Family
Each Additional Under-15 Swimmer per Family
15-18 Swimmer

All meet fees are included.  If your family ONLY has 15-18 swimmers, you can have a Teen Club membership ($0) which allows your teen to use the pool facilities.


Splash Fees

Families are responsible for large invitational meet (City, Dana Hills, Crossing, Woodlands) fees.  However, you can prepay for all the large invitation meet fees at a cost of $60.  (Value is around $100)

  • Dana Hills Pentathlon – $25 per swimmer
  • Crossing’s Challenge or Woodlands Invitational – $25 per swimmer
  • Concord City Swim Championships – $30 per swimmer

Team Jobs

Team Jobs are required of all team families.  This includes timing, snack shack, board member positions and other jobs that directly benefit the team.  There is no opportunity to opt-out of team jobs, but you can hire someone to work the job for you from the job exchange page.

  • Families with 2 or more swimmers are required to work 10 team jobs.
  • Families with only 1 swimmer are required to work 8 team jobs.
  • New to swim team families are required to work 5 team jobs.

Team Fundraising

All swim team families are required to raise $150 per swim season.  Fundraising items include:

  1. All funds raised by your family during the lap-a-thon
  2. Snack shack donations (receipt required)
  3. League ad purchases
  4. Cash donations / opt-out

YWST / VVST Fall Program is online

We will be hosting and co-coaching the Fall Program at YWST this fall.  This is an excellent opportunity to improve your stroke, with a focus on technique, and continue swimming in winter.  The program runs 4 days a week (M, T, Th, F) from September 12 – November 18 (10 weeks).

We are offering 2 groups.  Group 1 (4:15pm-5pm) is for all 8&Unders and also 9-10’s that are still learning breast, fly, and IM.  Group 2 (5pm-6pm) is for all 11&Ups and also 9-10’s that can legally swim breast, fly, and IM.

Please note that all swimmers must have at least one full summer season of swimming experience.  This is not a learn-to-swim program, but rather a program to continue the fitness and development of your summer recreational swimmer.

Please register on the Valley Vista website.  This program is limited to 60 participants and we expect to sell out.  Please register soon.

Jason Lezak at Ygancio Wood Swim Team!

On July 14, Jason Lezak came to our pool to inspire, coach and answer questions.  We had a great showing and Jason was fantastic.

Jason with our gold medal coaches
Jason with our gold medal coaches

Jason spent about 90-mins with our kids in the water… he focused on stroke technique, turns and dives.  Anyone who was paying attention learned…

Jason teaching the kids
Jason teaching the kids


Even a little one-on-one training
Even a little one-on-one training

After the training, time for some photo ops with the group.  (He did a photo with each attendee at the beginning)

See Jason trying to do a Seahorse?
See Jason trying to do a Seahorse?

071416_Jason Lezak Clinic - 6s

And after the water works, we heard some incredibly inspiring stories… his story… his challenges and how to win 8 medals at the Olympics.

071416_Jason Lezak Clinic - 11s

071416_Jason Lezak Clinic - 12s

071416_Jason Lezak Clinic - 10s

And I (Gareth) got to hold an Olympic gold medal in my hand!  (Not quite how 8-year-old Gareth thought of it, but pretty awesome!!!)


Ygnacio Wood Auction – July 16

We are rapidly approaching our exciting auction…  Come join us for an evening of enjoyment, friendship and some good food.  We also use this time to raise money for our club and team, and we have some fantastic donated items for your pleasure.

  • Kaia F.I.T.

  • ivivva

  • 49er tickets

  • A’s tickets

  • Boundary Oaks Golf Course

  • Club Renaissance

  • Regal Cinema

  • Bay Area Part Company

  • Spa Nails and Waxing

  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car

  • Salon Salon

Olympian Jason Lezak Swim Clinic

Jason Lezak swam his whole life in Southern California from the age of 5 until retiring after the last Olympics at 36. He’s best known for his anchor swim on the 2008 4×100 freestyle relay which was voted by Sports Illustrated as the most memorable single performance by an American at the Beijing Games.

The swim clinic will be on July 14 from 3-6pm.  (This may go to 7pm if our registration numbers are high)  This is open to YW swimmers and others swimmers too.  Cost is $50 per Ygnacio Wood swimmer.   Parents are welcome to watch.  Absolutely no recording of the event is allowed.
The clinic will include a motivational talk, Q & A, in the water teaching freestyle, starts, and turns, as well as autographs and pictures with his medals. Your customized clinic will also include for every swimmer a gift bag of a DVD, notebook, autograph card, and a Mutual of Omaha breakout swim clinic t-shirt.
Registration is now open to non-YWST members.  Please register above.  (For YWST members, you must now register here too)
This event is open to swimmers in the area 18 & Under only.
NOTES: While parents are allow to be on the deck during this event, ABSOLUTELY no recording of the event is allowed.  Please respect Jason’s rules.

Swimming (and improving) is what we are about

Swimming is a great part of our community, even beyond our swim team.  Most of you know, but we offer lessons for young kids who can’t yet swim, and we offer lessons for those looking to improve.
This year, we are bringing 4-time gold medal Olympian Jason Lezak in to do a stroke clinic on July 14th.  So, we have a lot going on for our community… most of these events are open to non-team members too.  Read below and see what’s happening!

Sea Pony Swim Lessons Registration is Open
Sign up now for Spring and Summer Sessions! Safe swimming is fun swimming
Sea Pony Information:
Give your 4 to 8 year-old the gift of swimming to use for a lifetime!

Private Lessons for little ones?

One on one private evening lessons will be available this summer, beginning June 13th for non-swim team members. 20 minute sessions.
Watch for sign ups here and at the pool or contact Ari Davis for more information, phone 925-586-0898 and/or email

Stroke Technique, Turns and Dives – Private Coaching

The YW coaching staff will be available after swim team hours for private lessons and help with improvement on stroke technique, turns and dives. This is a great opportunity for one on one time with a coach and your swimmer to work on areas specific to your child’s needs for improvement. Watch for more information posted at pool for sign ups, specific times, coaches and pricing.

Olympian Jason Lezak Swim Clinic

Jason Lezak swam his whole life in Southern California from the age of 5 until retiring after the last Olympics at 36. He’s best known for his anchor swim on the 2008 4×100 freestyle relay ( which was voted by Sports Illustrated as the most memorable single performance by an American at the Beijing Games.
The swim clinic will be on July 14 from 3-6pm.  (This may go to 7pm if our registration numbers are high)  This is open to YW swimmers and others swimmers too.  Stay tuned for details.  Cost is $50 per swimmer.

Our Wonderful Coaches!

Conor Boal – Co-Head Coach

head-shotYgnacio Wood what time is it??? That’s right everyone, the summer of 2017 is upon us! My name is Conor Boal and this will be my third year returning to the decks of Ygnacio as a coach. I have been part of this team since the age of six when I first swam a race as a mighty seahorse. I also continued competitively swimming throughout my years at Ygnacio Valley High School. I currently attend San Diego State University where I am studying Mechanical Engineering. I can’t wait to share my knowledge of this wonderful sport with you all and welcome you into the family of Ygnacio Wood! Goooooo Ygnacio!!!

Maggie Yamamoto – Co-Head Coach

Hey Seahorses! My name is Maggie Yamamoto and I am beyond excited to be joining Ygnacio Wood this summer! I grew up swimming for Valley Vista Swim Team for 13 years, Carondelet High School for one season, and I currently compete with the Walnut Creek Masters Swim Team. I was involved in the Cuda program and was a swimmer coach at Valley Vista Swim Team for a number of summers, I was an assistant coach at Valley Vista last summer, and I coached the YWST/VVST combined fall program. Swimming and coaching have been lifelong passions of mine. My philosophy focuses on proper stroke technique and racing hard while having lots of fun mixed in with everything. I am a graduate of Gonzaga University where I received a Bachelors of Science in Human Physiology and I will be attending University of Southern California in the fall where I will be pursuing a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. I am thrilled to be apart of such a magnetic team and I can’t wait for all the fun we will have together this summer!  

Maddie King – Assistant Coach

Hi seahorses!  My name is Maddie King and I go to school at the University of Nevada, Reno majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in human development and family studies.  I’m an assistant coach this year for my second home, Ygnacio Wood.  This will be my third year coaching but my 16th year being a part of this amazing team.  This team has been a huge part of my life ever since I was 3 years old and I hope to fuel the teams energy with my love for this team!  I hope I can give the lifelong memories that I’ve received to the children that I get to coach!  I’m counting down the days until I see all the smiling faces of our seahorses!!  Gooooooo Ygnacio!!

Alex Humann – Assistant Coach


Hello! My name is Alex Humann and I am beyond excited to come back to the pool for my second year coaching. I became a seahorse when I was four years old and have been loving it ever since. I have continued competitively swimming at Santa Barbara City College where I have been voted team captain. I am eager to give back to the team that has fueled my love and enthusiasm for the sport. This team has been more of a family to me and I love having the opportunity to give back all that I’ve gotten over the years. I am looking forward to another great season! Go seahorses! 

Haley Darr – Swimmer Coach

Hello! My name is Haley Darr and I will be swimming as an 18 year old this year.  I joined Ygnacio when I was five years old and have been a seahorse ever since.  This team has always been a family to me and I am so happy to be a part of the coaching staff this season.  My favorite stroke is breaststroke and I have also been swimming and playing water polo for Clayton Valley and I will continue to do both throughout college.  I am beyond excited for this season! GOOOoooooooOOOOO Ygnacio!

 Katie O’Sullivan – Swimmer Coach

Hi everyone!  My name is Katie O’Sullivan and I am very excited to be a swimmer coach this season!  I have been swimming since I was six years old and have grown up competing for YWST, USA year round teams, and Carondelet High School.  I have also participated in the Junior Olympics. In addition, you might recognize me as a coach from the fall YWST/VVST clinic.  This fall, I will be attending the School of Nursing at University of Michigan.  I can’t wait to share all that Ygnacio has to offer with you this summer!