Y-Teens 1950s Holiday Celebration

by Nancy Sajdak Manning


Y-Teens from the Young Women's Christian Association and Young Men's Christian Association gather in about the mid 1950s for the traditional "Hanging of the Greens" event at the downtown Bay City YWCA. Later, they enjoyed punch, cookies, and dancing.

In the fast-changing '50s, initially defined by conservatism and anticommunist sentiments, teens became defined as a separate generation. The young women pictured wear fashionable mid-calf skirts, possibly some poodle skirts. One wears a trendy neck scarf, and another wears stylish suede oxford shoes. Two young men wear blue jeans, popularized by teen idol James Dean in the 1955 movie, Rebel Without A Cause, where Dean played a sensitive adolescent fighting a world of conformity.

In YWCA history, the first association in the United States, Ladies Christian Association, formed in New York City in 1858. "YWCA" was first used in Boston in 1866. And, Michigan's first YWCA was organized at Normal College in 1881. Today, seven YWCAs serve Michigan.

The YWCA of Bay City, incorporated in 1891, became the YWCA of Bay County in 1966. In 2010, it became the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region and now serves Bay, Saginaw, Midland, and Isabella counties. The association's new mission statement states that it is a "leadership organization providing empowerment for women and girls to achieve economic self-sufficiency and advocacy for gender equity and social justice in the Great Lakes Bay Region." Photo courtesy of YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region.

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