Youth leader focuses on photo adventure

August 17, 2009|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- Thomas Radley was a Cub Scout as a child growing up in South Africa. The timing of his parents' divorce, though, prevented him from advancing to Boy Scouts because of difficulties getting to meetings, he said.

Radley, 40, is more than making up for it as a volunteer with the Mason-Dixon Council of Boy Scouts of America. He is Cubmaster, den leader and pack trainer for Pack 8 at St. Mary Catholic School, where his 7-year-old son, Nicholas, is a Wolf Cub.

His youngest son, Christopher, 5, also hopes to be involved in Scouting. Radley is also a trainer with the Mason-Dixon Council, Washington County District.

"I'm getting to relive my childhood, as well. It's nice to see the kids grow and learn," Radley said. "It's a sense of accomplishment when you see someone successful in something you had a hand in."


His newest task is as crew chairman/adviser to a Venture crew he is starting.

Venture crews are open to those ages 14 to 20 and usually have a specific focus. Crew 8 will be for youth who share Radley's interest in photography.

Radley is a technical account manager for Microsoft who works from his Matric Court home, behind the Centre at Hagerstown. He has worked for the company for nine years and manages the premiere support relationship between Microsoft and Radley's customers.

He is completing course work for a bachelor's degree in Information Technology from the University of Maryland University College and is involved in the local Toastmasters group.

Radley and his wife, Lara, met and corresponded over the Internet. Lara visited Thomas in South Africa in 1995, and he moved to the U.S. six months later. They have family members living on four continents, he said.

The Radleys married in 1996 and moved to Hagerstown five years ago from Dumfries, Va.

It was the digital age that piqued Radley's interest in photography. He describes himself as "very gadget-oriented" and said he never had any interest in the film-processing side of photography.

"Just one day, I picked up a camera," Radley said.

He took hundreds of images when he, Lara and their two young sons traveled to Africa to see his family several years ago. The lush scenery provided great material for the landscapes he loves to shoot.

Radley and guest speakers will teach crew members about all aspects of photography, including composition, exposure, lighting, posing and the digital darkroom, he said.

They also will conduct hands-on learning through photo walks and photo excursions.

"There's that sense of accomplishment when you get those great images," said Radley, who estimated he has 50,000 images stored.

Venture crews are member-run, with the youth setting goals and doing the planning, with the guidance of their advisers.

Radley said it takes a minimum of five crew members and five adults to charter a Venture crew. His goal is to get Crew 8 up and running at the start of the school year.

Crew members will need to have their own cameras, preferably a digital camera with manual settings, although Radley is hoping to get some equipment donated.

More information about Venture Crew 8 can be obtained by going to; e-mailing Radley at; or by calling him at 240-235-9677.

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