A Thousand New Stories: VYCC Creates New Opportunities for a Young Artist

October 20, 2016 | Conservation

When she graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2015, Kaitlyn Carroll was confident she’d land a very specific job and things would go exactly the way she wanted them to. “Of course, things don’t work out that way and it was very disappointing,” she shares. With a specialty in animation, Kaitlyn wanted a full-time position in New York at an ad agency, but quickly learned that the industry doesn’t work like that. She began working as a freelance artist and was struggling to secure enough work.

Kaitlyn (pictured above, far right) discovered VYCC while visiting a friend in Vermont. Knowing the outdoors makes her perennially happy, she applied for the 2016 season and completed a 12-week AmeriCorps crew on September 28.

“As soon as I got back things picked right up,” she shares. Kaitlyn describes her return to New York as a “second time around,” one in which she has a better outlook: “I’m more flexible now, and looking for multiple types of opportunities. I’ve broadened what I’m willing to do, and have expanded my idea of what is fulfilling.” She is doing animation and production for educational shorts and advertising under contract and as a freelance artist.

The parallels between trail work and art flow easily for Kaitlyn: instant gratification; the results are right in front of you as you do it; a lot of trial and error. “The ability to take criticism is very important. A lot of times you aren’t going to do the project right the first time. You have to want the finished product to be good, not done. You need to think less about what you want and more about what the end user wants. Those are important in both art and trail building.”

The majority of Kaitlyn’s VYCC experience was on the Long Trail’s southernmost section, near the Massachusetts border. There, she and her crew made improvements to muddy sections of trail. “There were few instructions and we had to figure out what to do. We did a reroute, and placed a lot of stepping stones. It was a lot of problem solving.”

Spending her summer with VYCC was the right thing at the right time for Kaitlyn. She gained clarity on herself and her priorities. “The VYCC experience is something I wish I could give to everyone that I know. In the field of art, people talk about writer’s block all the time.” Kaitlyn concludes that writer’s block is caused by lack of input: “A new experience gives you a thousand more stories to tell.”

See some of Kaitlyn’s stories on her website: kaitlyncarroll.com

Kaitlyn Carroll, far right, with her crew mates
Kaitlyn Carroll, far right, with her crew mates
Walking To Work
Walking to Work
Uniforms Off
Kaitlyn Carroll, center, and her crew out of uniform