DOVER -- As United States of America Snowboard Association competitions begin this winter, Griffin MacFadyen raises money for a good cause.
He has signed on to assist the High Fives Foundation by having potential donors pledge money for his contest wins.
"I have helped with raising money every competition that I get first place at," said MacFadyen. "People will sponsor me and I give all that money to High Fives."
Part of the attraction to the program for the 11 year old MacFadyen had been meeting Mike Schwarz, who sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of a fall taken on a snowboard.
"He probably wouldn’t be here right now if he wasn’t wearing a helmet," said MacFadyen. "I’m trying to get kids to keep wearing helmets."
After their encounter, MacFadyen asked his parents how he could help. He was led to the High Fives Foundation, which is based out of Truckee, Calif.
According to its website, the foundation "became an official non-profit on Jan. 19, 2010. The Tahoe based organization is dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes that have suffered a life altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter actions sports community."
On Dec. 21, MacFadyen competed in two slalom events at Killington. He came in first place for his age bracket and had the second best time for men of all ages.
From that event alone, he was able to raise $150 through pledges. Next weekend, he will be entering a rail jam.
"Since he’s competing for High Fives, he’s been trying to do all the competitions," his father said.
Attending Dover School most mornings during the winter, MacFadyen then quickly heads to Mount Snow to train in the afternoon. His routine could be compared to that of a superhero changing outfits throughout the day. Teachers carefully make sure that he’s not missing any work.
High Fives Foundation founder Roy Tuscany had begun to hear of MacFadyen through mutual friends in the Deerfield Valley. After watching some clips online, he thought MacFadyen would be perfect for giving presentations on the importance of wearing a helmet.
So far, he has been a part of two presentations. One was held at Dover School and another in Grafton.
This season, he plans to compete in approximately 21 events. MacFadyen looks forward to banked slalom, which is new this year to U.S.A.S.A. contests. Although, rail jams and slope styles are currently his favorite types of events.
"I think the banked slalom will be pretty cool," he said. "I want to try that out."
His family will travel all over the state, visiting places such as Bromley, Stratton and Okemo before the U.S.A.S.A Nationals Championship. All competitors who ride in the competitions leading up to that hope to be invited to Nationals, which MacFadyen was invited to last year.
"I think I’ll end up placing very well in Nationals," he said. "I’m at the top of my age group and other kids have moved out of the age bracket."
Tuscany has voiced interest about launching an initiative for the foundation along with MacFadyen that would focus on nationally putting the program on bigger stage.
"We think the potential is there," said MacFadyen’s father. "It’s exciting to think about kids around the country being part of this program."