It’s 9:30 on Tuesday morning on the premises of Audi Neuburg. A group of 18 “Summer Kids” are about to get started on an action-packed adventure. The excitement is written all over little Timo’s face. “How many R8 models do you have here? And do we get to drive them?” he asks, his eyes shining. “Six of the sports cars are on the track right now,” reveals Christian Wolf, from Audi Sport customer racing, with a grin.
Audi supports employees in combining career with family life
Exploring the animal world, watching paramedics at work, experiencing hands-on motorsports—that’s what the “Audi Summer Kids” can look forward to during their summer vacation. Blog author Olivia Faulbacher accompanied them and discovered how Audi supports their employees in combining career with family life by providing childcare for their kids.
Relaxing for Audi employees, action-packed for their kids
“We’ll come back to the R8 later, but for now you call all start off with the Audi Q7,” he says. “…on the off-road handling course.” A few whoops and cheers later, 18 pairs of little feet pad off towards the black SUV, getting faster as they go.
Excitement for the kids, and relaxation for their parents—with this motto in mind, Audi is now organizing the four-week summer vacation program for their employee’s children for the eighth consecutive year in a row. A total of 210 Audi kids are cared for by educational specialists from the Society for the Promotion of Work and Social Integration (gfi) in Ingolstadt. Alongside creative workshops, visits to restaurants, the fire department, and the paramedics headquarters, the program also includes sporting activities as well as a look behind the scenes at the Four Rings.
Just like today. Off we go to the off-road handling course. I sit next to eight-year-old Martina and her younger sister Berta in the Q7. Our driver, Helmut Schewe from the Audi Neuburg course management, explains: “First we’ll drive over some very uneven terrain. That means that two tires will be in the air at all times.” Our SUV promptly seesaws from the right front to the left rear, then back again. “I’m so excited,” says Martina, grabbing my hand.
A new kind of rollercoaster ride—with the Audi Q7
“Nothing will happen. After all, these stations show off what our cars are capable of,” Schewe emphasizes. And they’re capable of quite a lot, as our next little adventure—the halfpipe—demonstrates. “Cool, that’s just like a rollercoaster,” Berta says excitedly. “Exactly. We’re now at well over a 40 degree angle,” explains Helmut Schewe, pointing at the display in front of us. “I want to do it again,” the six-year-old says expectantly at the end of the course. Our scouting expedition on the Neuburg premises continues at an energetic pace.
We’ve arrived at Audi Sport customer racing. “This here is currently our fastest Audi,” says Christian Wolf. The kids stand mesmerized in front of the Audi R8 LMS race car. They get to take a look at the cockpit, and Christian tells them all about the speedster’s safety features, such as the cockpit protection and emergency fire extinguisher. The kids also investigate the motor with interest. After a little motorsports quiz, it’s time for a visit to the Audi Sport customer racing storeroom. Here, the Summer Kids have to look for a very particular replacement part. When they finally have the box with the right code number in their hands, they eagerly unpack it. But they don’t find a replacement part. Instead, to their happy surprise, they find motorsport posters and caps from Audi Sport.
What Audi learned from penguins
The next morning, equipped with their new caps, their journey takes them to the Ingolstadt plant. Today, they’re learning about bionics. Mathias Ziegler from the Audi Environmental Foundation explains how technology can make use of natural phenomena. For example, what do a penguin and an Audi R8 have in common? The Audi kids can see immediately that their shapes are similar. “That gives us low resistance, so the R8 glides like a penguin—but along the street. That’s aerodynamics,” explains Ziegler.
A little experiment creates great astonishment
“And now, I’d like to do an experiment with all of you,” says the environmental engineer. The Summer Kids get to make little rolls of paper, which they stack on top of each other, shape into a circular form, and then glue together from the outside. “Much like a honeycomb, this should be very stable. It’s going to be exciting to see if it works.”
“Nine, ten, eleven,” the kids count along as the fourth-grader Charlotte gradually puts more and more weight on their form. It holds. And we all stare in amazement as Matthias Ziegler then sets one child after the other onto the rolls. A previous excursion to the forest with the Summer Kids also focused on the topic of nature. Together with an expert in forest education, they playfully learned about animals and herbs. They also visited the international research project “Oak Forest CO2 Reservoir” by the Audi Environmental Foundation.
The widely varied vacation childcare is not a one-time event for Audi. “In the scope of the “Audi Playroom” initiative, we fundamentally support our employees in combining professional commitments and family life,” says Ute Röding, head of Corporate Citizenship. This includes, among other things, around 250 reserved spots at daycares in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, as well as regular activity programs during the Easter, spring, and fall vacations in both locations. So the Summer Kids can look forward to their next adventures, experiments, and surprises—all made by Audi.
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