The distillation of 30 years of experience in an expanding network of YouthBuild programs has resulted in the following description of essential program elements. These are the best practices that have been selected through extensive review by
practitioners and students.
Each accredited YouthBuild program must not only achieve a satisfactory level of the perfor-mance standards described in part IV of this document, but also demonstrate a total of 80 percent of the required program design elements described in this
document. Each program must demonstrate no less than 50 percent in each component category.
There are many very important elements listed as "recommended." The Young Leaders Council has expressed the opinion that most of the recommended items should be required, but has yielded to the awareness that the complexity of YouthBuild and the lack
of resources experienced by many affiliates often require that desirable steps are delayed.
The one element that is mandatory for all YouthBuild affiliates reflects the importance of youth leadership development and youth input into program policy:
Every YouthBuild program must have a working policy committee or comparable process by which students receive experience in program governance and participate in significant decisions affecting the program.
Required and recommended program design elements are described in the following categories, as shown in the table of contents: