FORT NOVOSEL, Ala. – Community plays a big role in Army life, but it’s often harder to find fewer permanent party families for training bases like Fort Novosel. Army spouse and Certified Group Fitness Instructor Brittany Besaw saw a gap and decided to do something about it. iStroll immediately began building a community in Fort Novosel where families can come together through fitness, fun and friendship.
Besaw found herself in south Alabama while her husband was starting flight school, and wondered how she could create a place for families that encouraged physical and mental health for both new and experienced parents, as she had experienced at other duty stations.
As a mother of four, Besaw was aware of the challenges of new motherhood and wanted to serve other families with the service provided to her.
“iStroll is a great exercise program for all fitness levels. For new postpartum moms, mid-pregnancy moms, and super fit dads. Our program is for the whole family. Has your husband left work? Bring it. Grandma is in town. “Bring him,” he said.
Joining an established group, especially in the fitness environment, can be intimidating at first, but Besaw has created a place where everyone is welcomed and supported from day one.
“Don’t be afraid. Everyone here is very positive, welcoming and encouraging. You show up for yourself. This is not a competition with anyone else. You show up for yourself and everyone here just supports you,” he said and continued: “You teach your children healthy habits and teach them fitness. You show that it is really fun.”
Besaw explained that as a parent, it can be very difficult to find time for yourself at every stage. iStroll is a solution to make fitness fun and accessible to everyone here at Fort Novosel. The group offers monthly stroller-friendly walks outside of fitness meetups to chat and make quick and meaningful connections.
“No matter where you are in motherhood, even if your children are grown and out of the house, even if your children are your pets, this is where you can feel comfortable; “There is a place for you here too,” he said.
iStroll member Ashley Vandenberg found this group to be an incredible resource during her family’s time at Fort Novosel. Besaw’s heart for these families is admirable, she said.
“Brittany not only has a passion for fitness, but also for people. “Ashley just wants to serve the community, and seeing the community grow so quickly has paid off,” he said.
Vandenberg found community and belonging here at iStroll at Fort Novosel in a way she didn’t know was needed.
“I have four children, and how do you find the time to choose yourself as a mother of four? This little piece brought so much joy to my life while I was in Alabama, and I know everyone here feels the same way,” Ashley said.
iStroll meets at different locations on Fort Novosel but is open and available to anyone with base access. You can find more information from Besaw on the iStroll- Fort Novosel Facebook page, the private Facebook group iStroll Socially Fort Novosel or on Instagram istroll.fortnovosel.