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WHITE PAPERS

1. Yes! Youth participation trophies

2. Awards are preferred over cash!

3. Recognition award presentations – Make them great!

4. Cash & gift card awards are costly

5. People love awards

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Yes! Youth Participation Trophies

Many of us in the Retail Awards business have read or heard about articles recently written about the overuse of participation trophies. Some of us have heard concerns expressed by our customers about this supposed trend of overuse of participation trophies.

Overuse of participation trophies is non-sense. Let me be clear, the arguments about too many participation trophies is absolute non-sense.

Participation trophies are small tokens of recognition. They are symbols of many things to the young person receiving one. To our youth, the participation trophy represents…

  1. A sense of belonging
  2. Personal accomplishment
  3. New skills learned
  4. Having Fun
  5. New Friends and Friendship
  6. Parental support
How do we know the participation trophy has important meaning to the young person?

We can only speculate based on the clues that are given. The biggest clue is this low cost trophy award is seldom trashed by the recipient… until they grow-up and move from their parents home. Can you think of any other item that our youth accumulate that are maintained and displayed for 5, 8, 10 or more years? Kids and adults love trophies, not because of their beauty… but because of the positive memories each trophy award symbolizes.

As a seller of Awards, I receive both calls and visits from people who wish to properly dispose of their old awards. These people want to know if their awards can be re-used. The real message is: I will not trash my awards. Rather, the original award recipient would like to help someone else to receive the enjoyment and memories enjoyed from their award.

Adults who are critical of participation trophies seem to be unaware of the positive impact the individual trophy award has to the recipient. The award carries the name of young person. This helps firmly establish the individual’s self worth and esteem. Then the team name is also part of the award. The team name re-enforces the individual’s need to understand he / she is an integral part of a team. The team is certainly a welcomed and important developmental parallel to the American society in which we all live.

Many adults who are critical of participation trophies somehow have come to believe that the participation trophy is a symbol of excellence. It is far from that. Participation trophies simply allow for the young recipient to dream big dreams and as confirmation that they were a part of something fun and hopefully 'team' is more than themselves.

The participation trophy is in many ways similar to the expressions of love and pride from parent to child. Both are remembered by the child for a very long time, for all the right reasons.

For our youth, participation trophies are not symbols of excellence but rather verification of growth, caring, community, fun and parental love. These trophies represent the positive aspects of growing-up from child to youth to adult.

We at AwardsMart will continue to fabricate, market and sell participation trophies. They represent the many positive stages of growth for our youth and the parents of young persons. And of course they are good for us and our awards industry.

Gordon Grabill
AwardsMart


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