Have you ever thought about how participation trophies might be impacting today’s youth? The debate over participation trophies has been around since they became popular in the 80’s, with many claiming that participation trophies are making kids lazy and entitled. People like Cardinals coach Jeff Walz and football star James Harrison posting viral rants about the topic only adds new fuel to the fire. Despite all the negative opinions, participation trophies have many positive effects on athletes and the community. Participation trophies should be given out at competitions because they boost confidence, reward hard work, and the trophy industry itself is good for the economy. First of all, one of the most popular arguments for participation trophies is that they boost confidence. According to an article by human behavioral expert Dr. Gail Gross, “Showing up can be half the battle for your child, and it’s a positive outcome that builds on itself, giving him a sense of confidence, which can lead to competence.” She then goes on the explain how participation trophies could be the positive outcome that gives a child the confidence to continue playing. This is especially true for aspiring athletes with anxiety, who make up a whopping 31.9% of adolescents. Believe it or not, participation trophies can make an enormous difference in the mind of a more introverted or less confidant kid who’s trying something new and frightening. Participation trophies could help make sports appear less intimidating to these adolescents, and give them a chance to develop a passion for the game. Secondly, participation trophies are used to reward hard work, which has been proven to have a positive effect on young people. Take one coach named Lou Schuler who wrote an article titled “Yes, all Kids Should Get Trophies”. In it he spoke about his experience coaching, and how he capped off the season with a trophy for each player, “Technically they were participation awards. But participation wasn’t easy. We made the kids work.” What Schuler describes is how most coaches use participation awards: as a reward for hard work and perseverance after a big tournament or at the end of the season. This praising of hard work rather than innate talent has been proven to have positive effects in a study by Carol Dweck. The study found that when praised for their innate talent, children did not strive for harder tasks because they wanted to protect that label. Conversely, kids who were praised on their hard work were more likely to apply that effort to harder tasks, without fear of failure. This is exactly what participation trophies do: teach the value of hard work which can then be applied almost anywhere in life. Finally, the participation award industry is very good for the economy. Award manufacturing is one of the fastest growing industries, worth over $3 billion a year. One example of this fast growth is JDS Industries, which went from a mom and pop shop in the 80’s to a major company pulling in millions in yearly revenue. JDS Industries is just one of over 40 large US based trophy manufacturers, not to mention all of the local shops selling awards. There are many families that make their living off of their own awards businesses, with most of their customers coming from local teams. Adding all of this up, it is safe to assume that the trophy industry is a major employer, which is a good thing for the country’s economy.Quite a few people against participation trophies would argue that they give athletes a feeling that they are entitled to win something just for showing up. To this many would have to disagree, as entitlement has very little to do with participation awards. There was a Reason-Rupe poll done in 2014 that showed that opinions on participation trophies had a lot to do with how high a family’s income was. Families with an annual income of over $90,000 were overwhelmingly opposed to participation awards, with 72% voting against them. Lower income families were found to be more split on the subject. This shows that the parents most worried about participation awards making their kids entitled or lazy are also the ones who can afford to buy their children more. It is safe to say that parenting and how much a child is given from birth has a lot more to do with entitlement than a small trophy.In conclusion, there are multiple reasons why participation trophies are good for athletes and the community. These include raising the confidence of new players, encouraging hard work, and helping to improve the economy. These benefits prove that participation trophies should continue to be handed out at competitions and the end of the sports season. Despite what many Americans think, participation trophies are not the end of the world. In fact, they are improving the world.