I’m 50. I was a Boy Scout at the tail end of Skill Awards in the 1980s, right after they got taken over in a hard-right conservative coup that moved the HQ of the Boy Scouts from NJ to Texas, hired a very old Boy Scout sketch artist to redo the Boy Scout Handbook to be “less 70s”, getting rid of urban scouting (read: well, you can read between the line there), most of the stuff on the environment, etc.
They got rid of THESE about a year after I left in the mid-80s because they were considered PARTICIPATION TROPHIES and “not “real Merit Badges””.
So yes, they complained about “participation trophies” in the 80s when I was growing up too .The difference is: I BELIEVE in rewarding people for participating. It might not be much – and ofc it’s not a 1st, 2nd, 3rd. Nevertheless, it’s an event worth remembering.
In this case, these were demonstrations of skills and I worked on the ones I got (not this many). Adults helping out in Scouts were hard to find around me in the 80s so getting Merit Badges was almost impossible by me logistically but Skills I could do on my own and prove.
And people putting wrong words into Charlie Brown’s mouth really should stop. /s