The creative team for the CAF Red Tail Project met last week to discuss strategy for the Project’s new website which will roll out this summer.  During that meeting, the team quickly discovered that it may be easier to decide what to include in the new site than what to leave out. The graphics and photos that are available to us are all good. The stories that the Project has to tell are all interesting.  Oh, it will be a challenge but here’s a hint of what the team has in mind.
     The Project is completely focused on education so the website will concentrate a large segment on RISE ABOVE, its educational program for kids in grades 4 through 9.  It would be easy to write pages and pages about the six tenets of RISE ABOVE as they relate to the Tuskegee Airmen:
Aim High
Believe In Yourself
Use Your Brain
Be Ready to Go
Never Quit
Expect To Win
     With the Airmen’s history of courage and perseverance to first get what they wanted – to be allowed to train as U.S. military pilots – and then excel in that role during WWII, it’s easy to contemplate developing a lot of copy and educational materials.  However, website visitors shouldn’t feel overwhelmed so the goal will be to make every word, graphic and lesson relevant and interesting.
     Then, of course, there’s the P-51C Mustang named “Tuskegee Airmen” that the Project restored – twice – and flies as tool to interest people in the Airmen’s story. Its saga has enough drama to easily populate a separate website!
     The development of the RISE ABOVE traveling exhibit will need attention and explanation.  As I write this, decisions are being made about how to configure the exhibit and how the electronics will work in the hands-on displays.  This is exciting stuff that will need to be reported on and updated on the website.
     The volunteers and donors for the Project will also have some space on the new website.  How do you adequately thank people who open their hearts and checkbooks with a bit of binary code for all to see? 
     The e-store will be completely revamped to make shopping easier and more fun.  The product line will be reviewed and expanded.  I like to shop as much as the next lady, but I’m glad I don’t have to choose what the store will be offering on the new website!  The team wants to design this well because all proceeds from the store’s sales go to support the Project’s mission of educating people – especially young people – about the Tuskegee Airmen’s challenges and accomplishments.
     So the work begins – figuring out the layout and page progression, choosing the graphics, and writing the copy and lesson plans.  Having too much incredibly interesting historical information and too many graphics to choose from is a good problem to have: the team is up to the challenge.
     The blog will keep everyone posted as the website rebuild journey continues so check back regularly.  If you don’t, we’ll miss you…
The CAF Red Tail Project is a volunteer-driven 501c3 non-profit organization that operates under the auspices of the Minnesota Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. For more information, please visit redtail.org.

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