Stephanie Yost may be the newest member of the board for the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center, also known as the Idyllwild Community Center, but she’s not a recent or new resident of the Hill.
She was living in Pine Cove more than 30 years ago when she had her eldest child. Although she may have subsequently moved to the Los Angeles environs, she and her family have stayed connected with the Hill.
“I loved Idyllwild. It was the perfect place to live — a friendly small town with no traffic lights,” she marveled.
By 2008, she and her husband had a cabin for regular weekend visits. Seven years later, they were looking for a full-sized and full-time residence. Eventually, they bought the Lora Woodhead Steere cabin, and cautiously and carefully restored it, including the additions that naturally appeared over time.
Now she wants to return her love to this community.
“It took ICC seven years to [get] where it is: Phase 1 is almost completed. It was a collaborative effort of a coalition of dedicated people. I’m very optimistic about Phase 2,” she said.
The current president of the ICC board Janice Lyle intends to end her tenure this summer. After the 20th-annual Idyllwild Summer Concert Series inaugurates the new amphitheater on July 11, Lyle will return to the desert and end her daily commute of 50-plus miles.
Yost has been asked to become the next ICC president. And starting, overseeing and completing Phase 2, the actual Community Center building, will be her first and most important endeavor.
An attorney by education, Yost’s legal positions have given her a broad perspective on business planning and initiatives. From legal counsel for Neopets, she has become executive vice president of Content. As a former entertainment lawyer, negotiating and planning are part of her background.
“Our first step will be finalizing the plans for Phase 2. There will be several rooms for all sorts of groups, a large outdoor activity space and a wonderful view of the amphitheater,” she said.
Even as Phase 1 approaches completion, with delays due to the winter storms and travails, Yost, with the help of fellow board member Terry Shirley, and the board are already seeking grants to augment the funding to complete the work.
As the details of Phase 2 come more into focus, Yost is guided by her own view of living on the Hill.
“I believe keep Idyllwild ‘Idyllwild’ We need tourism to support the inns, restaurants and other businesses. But we can still keep the small-town feeling,” she mused. She wants to keep the balance between Idyllwild’s small town foundation and the desire of Southern Californians to experience the rural communities away from freeways, skyscrapers and traffic lights.
Her vision of the future ICC is an opportunity for recreation for all ages. “It has to be a place for kids to play in snow, but not just recreation for young families. There are seniors who care, and want dance and art classes and events,” she shared. “It’s not just a place for sports. We will meet the needs of the whole community.”
Serving the community means a willingness to try new things and not a narrow perspective. Outreach to the community will be critical to identify how ICC can serve all, Yost stressed.
“There are many more things we should be doing and trying, and working with other groups,” she said. “I’m concerned that some people don’t know what ICC is and what it does.”
To broaden ICC’s visibility, Yost plans to offer more online connections with the community — for example, signing up and paying for courses online rather than trekking to Town Hall.
“What else can we do and should do to be more efficient?” Yost said enthusiastically. “We will listen to what parents say. We’re not stuck in what we always did.”
So, Phase 2 will be more than construction of a building, Yost envisions ICC evolving into an active community participant.