“Young Women: Celebrating 150 Years,” Liahona, June 2020, 12–15
The Young Women organization is turning 150 this year, and it’s time to celebrate! Check out these facts about how the organization has evolved from 1870 to today, what youth like you are doing to participate in Young Women now, and how you can be inspired by women in history who showed courage and faith.
Name: The Young Ladies’ Department of the Ladies’ Cooperative Retrenchment Association is officially organized on May 27, 1870, under the direction of Brigham Young.1 The name is changed to Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association in 1877.2
Organization and Classes: The Bee-Hive Girls program is created as a summer program for girls age 14 and older.
Improvement and Recognition: The Bee-Hive Handbook is published in 1915, outlining seven “fields” of personal improvement: Religion, Home, Health, Domestic Arts, Out-of-Doors, Business, and Public Service.3
Magazines and Journals: The first issue of Young Woman’s Journal is published in 1889.4 Many local Mutual Improvement Associations (or MIAs) produce their own handwritten newspapers with only one or two copies for the girls to pass around.
Name: The Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association changes to the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association in 1934.5
Organization and Classes: There are two classes, Bee-Hive Girls for the younger girls and Gleaners for the older girls. The age of entry into the program changes from 14 to 12. In 1950, the Mia Maid class is introduced.
Improvement and Recognition: The Golden Gleaner recognition marks the highest achievement young women can earn in the program.
Magazines and Journals: The Young Woman’s Journal merges with the Improvement Era magazine for all youth in 1929.6
Name: The Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association changes to the Young Women organization in 1974.7
Organization and Classes: By 1972, the Young Women organization has three classes: Beehives (ages 12–13), Mia Maids (ages 14–15), and Laurels (ages 16–17). Beginning 2019, young women enter Beehives in January of the year they turn 12.
Improvement and Recognition: The Personal Progress program and medallion are introduced in 1977. The Young Women values of Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, and Integrity are added in 1987.8 Virtue is added to the values in 2008.9
Magazines and Journals: The New Era magazine for youth begins publication in English in 1971, and the Liahona provides articles for youth in many languages.10
Name: The name remains Young Women organization.
Organization and Classes: Classes are organized in each ward or branch according to its needs and identified by the unifying label “Young Women” (for example, “Young Women 12,” “Young Women 12–15,” or just “Young Women” if they all meet together).
Improvement and Recognition: Children and Youth replaces the Personal Progress program. The new program encourages personalized opportunities to grow in the areas of Personal Development, Gospel Learning, and Service and Activities.11
Magazines and Journals: The New Era magazine for youth nears its 50th anniversary.