This story has been compiled by UPA and Volare. At the bottom of this article is an update that has been added on 01/30/2015 Once again, the Australian Pole Camp and Convention is getting bad reviews. The event was suddenly cancelled in less than 48 hours of the start of the camp. Head organizer and founder, Sabrina Waller has suddenly fallen ill and has been hospitalized in the US. Sabrina lives in the United States and the event was to take place in Sydney this year. While some have been speculating whether or not she is really in the hospital, we have done the research and located her. Sabrina is indeed being hospitalized in Denver, Colorado at St Anthony North Hospital. It is still unclear why she is being hospitalized. Why would people not believe she was in the hospital? There have been many questions about how this has been handled and many don’t have faith in the organizers of this event. The main question is, although she is unwell, why is it impossible for other event organizers to take over and keep the event going? Based on a Facebook post written by Sabrina’s daughter, Shanelle, there is evidence that there were other organizers working on this event. The answer to that lies in the email to APCC Package Holders sent by Sabrina’s husband, Gary: “Sabrina is irreplaceable and her boots can not be filed by another, due the legal and logistical nightmare that could unfold.” He then goes on to say “You are hereby invited to have your place rolled over for APCC2016 as a VIP Priority as a courtesy for the disappointing but unavoidable turn of events.” Another post by Sabrina suggests that she was on her way to Sydney, but her flight to San Fransisco, which was a stop on the way to Sydney, was cancelled. This was only three days before the event was to take place in Sydney. One facebooker asks “If the event relies so much on one person that it has to be cancelled becuase they’re too sick to make it home…why would they originally only plan to come home two days before said event anyways??” This is in response to Sabrina being “irreplaceable”. It goes without saying, but we will say it anyway… Canceling this event with such short notice has dramatically effected other people’s lives. Those of whom have spent thousands of dollars to get themselves out to Sydney. Many people are traveling from around the world specifically for this event. One woman states that she had been saving money for two years just for this event. There are statements being made that the hotel rooms have not been booked. Some people have been asking for a refund. Sabrina’s husband has responded back explaining that “when she (Sabrina) returns back on board the processing of any and all refunds for APCC bookings will be processed, starting in order of the first o book last to book.” There are many people in Sydney that have contacted the Department of Fair Trading to make a complaint. Fair Trading is like the Better Business Bureau in the United States. They will launch an investigation into Sabrina’s business practices and force her to refund the attendees and also adhere to the contracts with instructors. Prices for attendees for the cancelled camp ranges from $395 AU to $995 AU. The platinum package, which is the highest priced package is sold out. Meaning there is a lot of money by many that was spent on an event that has been suddenly cancelled. Many people feel they have been cheated and that Sabrina and her husband, Gary, are running some sort of scam. There have been light warnings about these event organizers leading up to this particular snafu, but many people have disregarded warnings from others and find themselves being disappointed year after year. This is based on many reviews and facebook posts that have been made since 2012. One particular instructor has told us her story. This person would like to remain anonymous, so let’s call her Toto.
Upon agreeing to participate in the camp of January 2012, Toto received and signed her contract. She was booked to teach workshops, flew to Australia and taught workshops with no incident. After the workshops, Toto was informed that she would be paid two weeks later. Three weeks later, she had not been paid yet. Toto messaged Sabrina and asked to be paid. Sabrina then gave her excuses of why she could not pay Toto. This went on for about two more months. She kept saying things like, I’ll pay you tomorrow, I’ll pay you next week, etc. One of the excuses was that she could not get in touch with her accountant, that the money was out of her hands and was in control of the accountant. Toto later finds out that Sabrina’s accountant is actually her husband, Gary. Toto finally threatens to out Sabrina to the community via Facebook, letting everyone know that she worked hard to get herself to Australia, to teach several workshops and was not being compensated. The very next day, Toto received her full payment.
Despite the disappointment with the 2015 Australian Pole Camp and Convention being cancelled, there is good that came out of it. Many Polers in our industry have stepped up and set up workshops and events for the instructors that have flew into to Sydney just for this event. Michelle Shimmy, Maddie Sparkle, Andrea Ryff, Justine McLucas, Amber Ray, Kim Miller, Lilly Sally Sciani, Vanessa from Bobbi’s Studio and X-Pole Australia have taken it upon themselves to organize and help out their fellow Polers. Workshops are now being held at Pole Dance Academy in Sydney and Achieve Physique in Mascot, Sydney. Jack Gaffney, UPA’s Industry Pro of the Year and CEO of Bad Kitty, has this to say on the subject: “The Pole Industry is one of massive opportunity. But opportunity breeds opportunists who seek to exploit circumstances and gain advantage rather than be guided by consistent principles or plans. Opportunists are selfish and focus attention on self serving principles. I am Incredibly proud of the Poler’s who banded together and exposed some of this behavior and more proud to see the selfless actions they took to make the best of a situation they were ALL collectively thrust into. The opportunity was not lost in the end because our community is strong enough and connected enough to overcome these set backs. I think it sends a clear message to opportunists that we (the pole community) are not going to be targets, and creates awareness to the entire community that everyone needs to conduct proper due diligence in selecting whom they do business with.” Other Polers have officially spoken out against the organizers of this event and recently made the following post: “*** There are so many good, honest, reliable and smart people in the pole world, and it greatly angers me to write this post but I feel it would be irresponsible not to *** To the pole community at large, It is in good faith and professionalism that our industry thrives; we always try to adhere to these principles. However, due to repeated offenses which have impacted the global community, we’ve chosen to speak out about our experiences with the organizer of the Australian Pole Camp.
It’s amazing to see the community come together and help each other out under unfortunate circumstances! Gary Waller so far has not agreed to comment to us on this subject. UPDATE: Sabrina is no longer in the hospital and is being cared for in a private location. She did enter the Emergency Room, but it is still unclear for what and for how long she was there. All we can tell you is that she is no longer there.
Upon researching the cruise ship portion of the Australian Pole Camp and Convention package we have found information. Our sources have called the The Sydney Showboat Company asking if there were anything booked for a group of Polers. They asked the company to search under the names Australian Pole Camp and Convention (Event Name), Sabrina Waller, Gary Waller,(Event Organizers Names) OUR UNIVERSE PTY.LTD (Proprietary Company Name) and Pole Fever (Studio Name). The results, there was nothing booked for a group of people under any of these names. Upon calling the hotel, The Mercure, located at 818-820 George Street, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia with phone number +61 2 9217 6666, there were fifteen rooms booked and paid for all coming from one post master account. This means one person or company paid for fifteen rooms. Fourteen out of the fifteen rooms have been checked into. One room has been deemed a no show. According to one of the hotel desk clerks, at least three people showed up with extra people who they believed would not have to pay to stay. The hotel clerk insists that there were no deals between the person who paid for the rooms to include extra people at no extra cost. The clerk, Luke, also states that they have had tons of confusion in dealing with this particular party, “the pole dancers” as he puts it. Edited: There has been mention of another event that was cancelled last year by the same organizers. This was the Pole Perfection Showcase to take place in Sydney. Polers had flights scheduled to Sydney. We are still trying to confirm why this event was cancelled. According to a source of ours, a woman who bought a ticket as a spectator, she did not receive a refund for her ticket until eight weeks later. This was only after she threatened to report the organizers, Gary and Sabrina Waller, to the Department of Fair Trade and to take legal action. Further more, it is becoming difficult to determine where the actual camp was to take place. Two different instructors booked to teach workshops can’t even give us a clear answer. This is what the APCC website states: THURSDAY 29TH JANUARY 2015 2:00pm – 5:00pm – Registration and Check-in Registration will be at the “Information Desk” for Australian Pole Camp – please follow the signs. Please ensure you have valid ID and your confirmed registration booking with you. You will receive your gift bag at this time and all the information you need then you will need to proceed to accommodation reservations. 7:00pm Meet & Greet (Specific on Site Location to be advised closer to the date) This was copied and pasted from their website today. Even with the event getting closer, there was no indication on their website what location they were meant to check in at, have a meet and greet or participate in the camp itself. We are in the process of determining if in fact the camp were to take place at the hotel. We will have more information on that by next week. To visit this page on the APCC website, click here: http://www.australianpolecamp.com.au/#!itinerary/c1fwe If you or someone you know has lost a significant amount of money upon the cancellation of this event, you can use the information below to your advantage: Whether you are an Australian citizen or not you can report the organizers of the Australian Pole Camp and Convention by visiting the NSW Fair Trading: Business and Trader Services. Follow this link to visit: http://www.cas.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/icms-public/complaint/registration/newComplaint.sjsp?complaintType=general Be sure to use the information from this link when filing a complaint: http://abr.business.gov.au/SearchByAbn.aspx?SearchText=51163602542 You can also log a complaint with the Australian Securities and Investigation Commission. Visit their website here: http://www.asic.gov.au/about-asic/contact-us/how-to-complain/ Have something to add to this story? Sign in to comment below and tell your version of events.