The LDS Church recently announced that it will be severing its ties with the Boy Scouts of America and is creating a new program for all the children and youth in the Church. With this announcement, there have been discussions (here and here) about what these changes could mean for the youth programs in the Church, particularly for young women. Knowing the history of the LDS youth programs for the past one hundred years can help put all of these recent announcements in perspective.
The current Young Women organization began as the Young Ladies’ Department of the Ladies’ Cooperative Retrenchment Association, formally founded in 1870. Over time the organization went through several name changes, from the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association (YLMIA) in 1877, to the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association (YWMIA) in 1934, Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women in 1972, and Young Women (the current name) in 1974. As it went through all these name changes, the Young Women’s organization also created a variety of classes and programs for its members. The Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA), now known as Young Men’s, had parallel developments as it created new classes and activity programs. The Mutual Improvement Association (MIA) was the joint organization of these two programs for youth, young adults, and adults. They held a combined conference every year starting in the 1890s, called June Conference. The General Boards of YLMIA and YMMIA met together often to discuss the needs of the youth and develop activities and programs for their members.
Achievement programs for both the YLMIA and the YMMIA began around the same time in the 1910s. The option to the join the Scouting movement was first brought to the YMMIA in 1911. They initially created their own program, called MIA Scouts, that same year.  In 1913 the YMMIA formally affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. The YLMIA also considered joining with a national organization to use their summer work and outdoor activities within their program, including the Camp Fire Girls and the Girl Guides (Girl Scouts). After a period of adopting the Camp Fire Girls Program (1913–1914), the YLMIA leadership decided to create their own program instead, saying they saw it as “absolutely necessary for us to keep control,” rather than report to another organization. 
The YLMIA started its own program in 1915 called the Bee-Hive Girls, using the Camp Fire Girls as a guide. The purpose of the Bee-Hive Girls was “to perfect our womanhood—to hold to the faith of our fathers and to develop in our individual womanhood, drawing from all good sources to do so.”  Bee-Hive Girls began as a summer program available for all members of the organization, but morphed into its own class with specific ages and year-round work by the early 1920s. Bee-Hive girls remained the most complex achievement program within the Young Women organization, but leaders developed many other award programs for the different classes over the years.
Starting in the 1920s, the Young Men’s and Young Women’s organizations of the MIA developed classes that gave young adults more independence to organize and lead their own groups. The M Men and Gleaner classes were very popular within MIA and often did joint work together. This joint class continued until the 1970s. It was the M Men and Gleaner classes that developed the next achievement programs within MIA after Scouting and Bee-Hive Girls, with the Master M Men program introduced in 1932, and the Golden Gleaner program in 1940. These were parallel award programs that had the same overall requirements for both the M Men and Gleaners. 
The 1950s saw many changes within both the YWMIA and YMMIA, with the creation of new classes and new achievement programs. As a snapshot, here are the names of the classes in 1950: Special Interest (for adult women and men), M Men and Gleaner (a joint class for young adults), Junior M Men and Junior Gleaner (a joint class for older teenagers), Mia Maid, Explorer, Bee Hive, and Scout. In the YWMIA the Junior Gleaners, Mia Maids, and Bee Hives each had their own achievement programs with their own awards and jewelry. The Duty to God program began in 1955 to focus young men on their spiritual duties and supplement the Scouting work that was still part of YMMIA.
Many programs were simplified and consolidated in the 1970s as the Church worked to meet the needs of a larger global membership. A new culminating achievement program was announced in 1971 for both the Young Women and Young Men organizations, called the Personal Achievement Program. This program replaced all the previous class achievement programs, though Scouting still continued.  This program was short-lived. It was soon replaced on the Young Women’s side by My Personal Progress in 1977. The Personal Progress program was fully introduced in 1989 and has continued as the award program for Young Women, with simplifications to the program occurring in 2002, 2009, and 2010.  As the Personal Progress program has been adjusted, the Duty to God program for Young Men has also gone through changes, including more significant adjustments in 2002 and in recent years as the Church has gradually moved away from its affiliation with the Scouting program.
What does this long history of different classes and achievement programs for youth in the LDS Church teach us? The Church has a variety of class structures as well as activity and achievement programs in its past. The Young Women organization in particular has been open to making changes quite frequently. For over a century, youth and young adult leaders have tried to meet the needs of their members and create programs that provided leadership and development opportunities. This has included joint programs with both young women and young men, achievement and award programs tailored to particular ages that allowed exploration of a variety of activities, and opportunities for youth to lead their own classes and programs. Though frequent changes have been made, the structure of these youth programs has continued to focus on the needs of North American members. As the Church implements their new programs for children and youth over the next few years, it will be interesting to see how they draw inspiration from the many programs in their past, but also consider new ways to better meet the needs of a global church.
 “MIA Scouts,” Improvement Era 15, no. 3 (Jan. 1912): 287; L.R. Martineau, “M.I.A. Scouts,” Improvement Era 15, no. 5 (March 1912): 354–361.
 Ann M. Cannon, MIA June Conference Address, “Summer Work,” Young Woman’s Journal 25, no. 7 (July 1914): 449–450.
 Handbook for the Bee-Hive Girls of the Y.L.M.I.A. (Salt Lake City: General Board of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association, 1915), 3.
 “Y.L.M.I.A. Executives and Gleaner Leaders,” MIA Leader 7, no. 2 (Nov. 1940): 3–4.
 “New Priesthood Personal Achievement Program,” and “New Directions in MIA,” in Improvement Era (August 1970): 28–31.
 Elements of the Personal Progress program were introduced a few years earlier. In 1985 a new motto, simple theme, and the values were introduced. In 1987 a new logo and statements and symbols for the Beehive, Mia Maid and Laurel classes were introduced. The new Personal Progress book with all of these previously announced elements and more was released in 1989.