NEW YORK (NNS) -- More than 60 Girl Scouts and troop leaders from the Heart of Hudson Council visited the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) with boxes of donated cookies as part of Operation Cookie Drop, May 27, during Fleet Week New York 2017.
Alison Bergman, the volunteer coordinator who began the operation, credits her inspiration from the events during 9/11. As a Girl Scout troop leader, she felt compelled to help service members. In the first year, Operation Cookie Drop received approximately 100 donated boxes of cookies. This year, the operation collected more than 105,000 donated boxes.
Once the cookies were dropped off at Kearsarge, the Girl Scouts were given a tour through the ship's well deck, hangar bay and flight deck. They then spent time speaking with female Sailors and female Marines.
"It's a wonderful experience for them to see strong, powerful women in leadership roles," said Bergman. "I think it just shows them there are so many women doing so many different things on so many different levels.
Lt. Iris Mansel, Kearsarge's administration officer, was in charge of coordinating the event. Mansel said she was grateful for the opportunity to witness the girls interacting with the Sailors and Marines.
"For them to see a girl in uniform I think is very powerful," said Mansel. "The Girl Scouts are a great stepping stone to joining the military. They learn leadership and learn to take responsibility. They learn to make goals and reach them, and those are all skills we need in the military."
Operation Cookie Drop plans to send out cookies through the remainder of the year to the D.C. area, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Joint Base Andrews, the District of Columbia Army National Guard and the Maryland National Guard.
"It's a wonderful opportunity and experience to see how many young men and women there are on board doing something for our country that's so important," said Bergman. "With Operation Cookie Drop, we just want to get a little taste of home into as many of their hands as possible."
The theme for this year's Fleet Week New York 2017 is "Celebrating the Sea Services and Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Seabees."
Fleet Week New York, now in its 29th year, is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services.
For up-to-date information on ship locations and tour schedules, visit the official Fleet Week New York website at www.fleetweeknewyork.com, "Like" www.facebook.com/FleetWeekNewYork, or "Follow" www.twitter.com/FleetWeekNYC. Join the conversation on social media by using #FleetWeekNYC.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd3/.