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RAFT Refresh

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

by Ayla Stephen, Program & Granting Manager

The Rozsa Admin Fundamentals Training program follows a fictional case-study for the Multicultural Youth Orchestra, developed by Geraldine Ysselstein in 2017. When initially developing the case study, Geraldine wanted to ensure that the program delivery was interactive and engaging, so she developed dialogue for all the characters involved in the fictional organization. These characters include Julian, the founding Artistic Director; Anita, a parent volunteer who becomes the first Board President; and even a small cameo by the City Mayor, who loves the arts and sees great value in the programs! By stepping into these parts, our hope is that participants gain a deeper understanding of the various roles, responsibilities, and personalities that make up an arts organization.

Every time we offer RAFT we review the evaluations and our experiences as facilitators, and note where we want to adjust. Our industries and the artistic landscape are also constantly evolving, and we want to make sure our material remains relevant. Geraldine is the first to admit that she is not a playwright and was eager to get fresh eyes on the dialogue. Although informative and fun, it was a bit clunky in spots and we had some feedback from participants that it could use some work. In addition, the case study offered a very idealized version of events. When the orchestra decides to become a non-profit organization, the Board of Directors comes together very easily and is very diverse at the outset, with little work to find members. Staff and board worked together seamlessly, and every goal and objective are successfully met. “Wow!”, I thought, “If only it was really this easy!”

We wanted to get a new brain on the team to look at the dialogue, and especially since we work closely with so many theatres, we thought a playwright would be ideal. Kodie Rollan was more than up for the task! Kodie is a Calgary based playwright, with a Master of Arts in Arts Leadership/Arts Management from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, and is active in Calgary’s theatre scene as an artist, admin, board member, and advocate. His talent and knowledge – coupled with his humor and advocacy work, made him the ideal collaborator for this case study update.

Kodie has flushed out the personalities of individual characters in the case study and added much-needed healthy conflict to the relationships and dialogue. Board members of the fictional orchestra get a bit confused about their responsibilities, and one member even decides to leave the organization because the role is not what they expected. Working and volunteering for an arts organization is not always smooth sailing and it is important to see that play out – but the case study also shows that clear goals and objectives are key to an organization’s success.

I am also very excited that Kodie will be co-facilitating RAFT Online this September with me! We are looking forward to bringing arts admin to Zoom, and I can’t wait to hear Kodie’s new dialogue in action. Applications are due August 21, 2020. Moving RAFT online also means it is open to arts administrators throughout Alberta! Learn more and/or apply at

If you have questions about the program feel free to get in touch with me, Ayla Stephen, Program & Granting Manager, at

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