SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
During the month of March, the Air Force celebrates Women’s History month. Although the month has come and gone, the women of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, continue to come together throughout the year.
“Even though Women’s History month has ended,” said Col. Christopher Sage, 4th Fighter Wing commander. “Respecting and honoring the contributions women bring to our lives should not.”
In addition to providing the women of Seymour Johnson AFB, with one of only 59 women’s health clinics in the Air Force, the base also has one of the few women’s-only gyms. BellaMorphosis was established in 2001 and provides more than 50 classes each week to include aerobics and anaerobic sessions that consist of hi-lo impact, step, yoga, pilates, kickboxing, and body building, with child care provided. Additionally, BellaMorphosis offers massage therapy (prices listed at www.sjfss.com/bellamorphosis), to both men and women.
More than 500 women utilize the facility which provides an atmosphere that encourages women to partake in activities they may not have otherwise participated in. It develops a sense of camaraderie and family between the women, according to Robin Varner, 4th Force Support Squadron BellaMorphosis manager.
“I’ve been a member since 2012, and an instructor since 2014,” said Varner. “Before I discovered Bellas, I was in a really bad place emotionally and these women welcomed me in, pretty much saved my life. I turned my life around; got healthy and even got a career too. The women here are amazing, we really are all a family here.”
Varner added that the women of Bellas celebrate in each other’s victories, not just as Bella “babes” but as mothers, daughters, wives and Airmen. They remember the women who came before and celebrate their history and female bonds.
In 2007 and 2009, BellaMorphosis was selected as Air Combat Command Services Specialty Program of the Year. Additionally, during a visit to the base in 2016, former Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James lauded the facility as a unique and positive experience for women.
Along with BellaMorphosis’s on-base membership, more than 100 members who have moved away from Seymour Johnson AFB still continue to participate in various virtual challenge programs around the world.
“We have our spring boot camp starting soon, along with our other programs and classes,” said Varner. “The classes are also offered at the main gym if males want to participate, but I think here it’s a different vibe, a different feel. For me personally this place has helped me through many of my husband’s deployments. And something we do have here is childcare, or the playroom, where our moms don’t have to watch their kids and can just focus on their workout.”
Staff Sgt. Marcedes Fleming, 4th Comptroller Squadron customer service supervisor, has been a member since 2015, and appreciates that Bellas is a gym “for women by women” and wishes she had joined the gym sooner.
“It’s all about sisterhood and building each other up,” said Fleming. “It offers a different environment and it provides such a great service to our base. When I leave Seymour Johnson AFB, Bellas is definitely one thing I’m going to miss. I wish every base had one; it’s bigger than just a gym, it’s a family.”
BellaMorphosis offers a multitude of strength and cardiovascular classes by various certified instructors, starting at 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays; 7:30 a.m.-noon on Saturdays.