Let’s Talk: Debating “Trophy Kids” and Participation Awards

Much has been written about the “entitlement generation” and how Millenial students are accustomed to receiving rewards for accomplishing everyday tasks.  Working for an awards company, I have often engaged in conversation with customers that covers both sides of the argument.  Some parents exclaim, “When I was young, I had to work hard for my trophies.  They weren’t just given out to everyone.”  Others are thrilled that we offer stock ribbons with Participant or “Everyone is a Winner” designs so that children build confidence and have a memento of their event.

In recent years, the “anti-award” side of the argument has caught on more in the press as the “trophy kids” have grown up. Critics claim that participation awards and “a trophy for everyone” has raised a generation that expects a reward for mediocrity.

Certainly we do see orders where, for example, everyone at a swim meet gets a ribbon up to 30th place.  While we understand the purpose behind awarding ribbons to (nearly) all the participants, we are not blind to the fact that the swimmers receiving our 27th place ribbon probably won’t treasure it the way they would a first place ribbon.

Then again, just because a team in a rec league doesn’t make it to the Championship game doesn’t mean that that particular season wasn’t a great learning experience or great source of memories.  A small award for those team members may be just as valuable as a winner’s medal, just for different reasons. 

So here’s the part where we encourage some lively conversation.  Have you awarded trophies or ribbons for participation?  Did you feel it was the right thing to do or were they just to stop the tears?   Do you think you value awards you received as a child more than today’s kids do?  Share your opinion in the comments.

Budget-Friendly Medal Options

In travelling to trade shows and speaking with our customers, I have often seen people admire our medal display and then remark “but I don’t have a budget for medals.”  When I go over the pricing of our medal selection, they are often surprised to find out that we have many budget-friendly options.  Especially at this time of year, with our Winter Sale, we really do have a medal for every budget.

CX Medal with Grosgrain Neck Ribbon

Our most cost-conscious option is the CX Medal on a grosgrain neck ribbon.  The regular price of 75 cents each applies to any quantity, and that is without the 10% Winter Sale discount. For a larger (1-1/2″) coin, many people choose the LX medal for $1.25, or 99 cents if you purchase 500.  Again, these prices are without the 10% discount.

LX Medal with Satin Neck Ribbon

For those customers that need to customize each medal, the most cost-effective way to do so is with custom printing on a satin neck ribbon.  Using any of our 31 colors (the same as we use for our ribbons and rosettes), your custom printing is included in the medal cost (a $10 setup applies for under 25 neck ribbons).

For a completely customized medal center, our metallic inserts on an 1-3/4″ LBX Medal are just $1.35 on a grosgrain neck ribbon (qty. less than 500).  Using a full color center (great for multicolor logos) adds just 15 cents to the price.

LBX Medal with Grosgrain Neck Ribbon

Of course, we offer a much wider selection than some of the options I’ve just highlighted here in this post.  Be sure to browse online or request a catalog to check out our full range of options.

Have you ordered medals?  Any tips for those on a budget?   Let us know in the comments.

Planning for a Meeting?

While Hodges Badge has long been associated with award ribbons, and more recently with other types of awards and trophies, we wanted to let you know that we can also help out when you are planning a meeting or reunion.

  • Need name tags but don’t want “Hello my name is” stickers? Try our custom printed stick-on tags. For a nicer touch, our pin on name tags match a color in your logo with a ribbon at the top.
  • We also have stock ID ribbons for traditional responsibilities (Board Member, Sponsor, Official, Speaker, Volunteer etc.) and both horizontal and vertical tape top ribbons you can use to attach to name badges.
  • Buttons are also popular at reunions, and you can even put individual names and photos on them for no extra charge. Turn them into a keychain and they’re a simple souvenir.
  • Lastly, our banners can be hung indoors or out to let everyone know about your event.

Have you ever used our products for anything besides a horse show, dog show, fair, or athletic competition? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comments!