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Youth center in Orcutt working to reopen and resume hosting community events

orcutt yoyo
Posted at 10:25 AM, Aug 12, 2023

For more than half a century, Orcutt neighbors planning a wedding, birthday or community gathering would host their events at “YOYO.”

However, the center has been out of use since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with future plans for the property still to be determined.

“YOYO,” which stands for Your Orcutt Youth Organization, was built off Foster Road back in 1959 to provide a space and nonprofit group dedicated to supporting local kids in the community.

“Really promoting sports, arts, science, education and a place for the community to have a building and really a place for the kids to go,” said Mark Zimmer, vice president of the YOYO board.

 He says in more recent years, the center had been primarily used as a rental hall, but leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit saw its revenue dwindle, and in early 2020, YOYO closed its doors.

“We had COVID, where all rental halls were shut down. We have had had no source of revenue for about three years,” Zimmer added.

In the years since YOYO has sat vacant, little upkeep has been done on the property, which has now been splashed with graffiti and overgrowing weeds.

“My main concern right now is that it opens somehow in a clean operation. And perhaps, that the rear area is cleared of the dry brush because it is a fire hazard right now,” said David Dantzer, a deacon of The Harbor Church that neighbors the youth center.

In the past few weeks, YOYO Board members have held multiple community meetings to discuss its future plans.

“We are looking at this as an opportunity,” Zimmer told KSBY. “We can look at what the options are for revenue and get back in control of our finances so we can administer some of the programs we did early on in the foundation of this organization.”

Zimmer says his board is still discussing possible future uses of the center, including having it once again be available for rent, having it serve as a daycare center, or leasing it out to another business.

“From what it is today, to where it could be, I look forward to the future and implementing programs that need to happen,” Zimmer said.

He says his board is asking for help with their cleanup efforts, as well as other ways the center could be used in the future.

In its heyday, Orcutt YOYO would also provide scholarships for local teens, support for athletic groups, as well as generations of Elks queens.

You can reach out to his team directly at